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I will be moving in couple of months to another city and already started looking for potential companies to which I could apply for a job. Most of them have a defined brand, with specific color palettes and design styles on their websites.

So I came up with an idea to create my CV looking as close to their brand style as possible, to stand out among other CVs. What I have in mind saying this is using their brand color, design styles (flat/material/ etc), font styles, maybe even specific words taken from their slogans.

What drives this idea is it may make an impression we have more in common or make them like me more since I took an extra effort to customize my CV specifically for them.

On the other hand, I also have my doubts. Could an employer be potentially offended by me copying their style in which they probably put a lot of effort into?

So would it be a good idea to mimic a company's visuals in my CV when applying for a job?

I'd like to add that the position is a frontend developer which has to do with creating visually pleasant websites and—in some cases—graphics.

62

I once redid my CV and motivation letter with the main color of the company for headings. My first version was like you presented, with lots of their corporate words, etc, I then realized that my dossier was about me, and not them. I kept the colors, and wrote the content with my wordings.

I got a interview, they complimented me for my dedication at using the colors, it showed them that I wanted the job. But don't go too far, as you'll lose your personality and it might not play in your favor as they won't be able to gauge who you are through text.

Sidenote: For the interview they printed my dossier in black and white. So it's only useful when there's a human reading the electronic version.

  • 53
    "For the interview they printed my dossier in black and white" - this is quite important. Formatting your CV in a way that will look good printed in black and white is desirable, and CV readable in BW is pretty much mandatory. – Mołot Feb 1 at 10:29
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    I think the best way to understand your don't go too far qualification is: use "their" material (colors, ideas, whatever) to strengthen your own existing point of view. As soon as you start using their material to adopt a point of view you didn't originally have, it's too far. Oversimplified example: If you – dwizum Feb 1 at 13:56
  • Oops, apparently the rest of my comment didn't post. Oversimplified example: If you consider yourself a strategic person, and you've held strategic roles, and you're applying to a company that has "strategic" featured in their motto or prominently on their website, go ahead and promote yourself as strategic. But don't start sprinkling the word "strategic" all over your CV just because of how it's featured by the company! – dwizum Feb 1 at 18:13
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Honestly I think it's kind of weird. And I have to say I really can't see it being a positive, I suppose it may depend on what sort of job you're going for but can you honestly picture a conversation between those making the hiring decision along the lines of:

Well aMJay decked their CV out to look like our branding, we should totally hire them!

Perhaps if the job involved creating branded and formatted materials it would be a tongue in cheek way of showing you can work with style guidelines but otherwise it doesn't show any capability or suitability for the role, instead it just looks like creepy brown-nosing.

specific words taken from their slogans

This is a terrible idea - it comes across as either a painfully transparent attempt to say what you think they want to hear or a complete lack of confidence in oneself. Or even worse it could sound like you are mocking them!

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    It's like investigating what your (main) interviewer likes to wear, then wear the same suit to the interview... – fr13d Feb 1 at 13:48
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Your CV is about YOU and YOUR qualifications and experience.

If you'd be hired because you copied the company pallette and visual style, it says more about their self congratulatory indulgence than I'd like my employer to be...

It is OK to be inspired by certain designs but combine and create your own out of them, don't just copy.

3

You say this:

So I came up with an idea to create my CV looking as close to their brand style as possible, to stand out among other CVs

And then this:

What drives this idea is thought it may make an impression we have more in common or make them like me more since I took and extra effort to customize my CV specifically for them.

First and foremost, unless this is a graphic design job—or something in an explicitly creative field—if I was given a resume like this I would believe you are pandering to the company. I would actually see this as a negative since—as others have stated—the purpose of a resume/CV is to promote you and not promote another company.

Also, you setup this crazy scenario where if I were receiving such a resume, I would wonder why the job applicant is being so submissive to my specific company/business. As someone who reviews resumes, I would wonder why someone applying for a job would be so pandering to my specific business instead of having a general resume/CV that could get them a job anywhere. I mean, maybe I work for a great place but it would creep me out.

All that said, I need to focus on what is important in a resume based on your original question as posted: The title of your question was vague, the opening paragraph was a wall of words that needed to be broken up, there were tons of typos to very common words and then you declaring “Question” at the end of the question instead of just stating in the the title felt like I was wading through a rambling question.

Now I realize that a resume/CV is different than a post on a forum, but I would state that instead of thinking about the aesthetics of a resume you just think about presenting the content as clearly and direct as possible without any distractions.

If your resume is so “high maintenance” and difficulty to understand to a reviewer of your resume, they are just going to zip past it and go to another resume. Just get to the point and respect the resume/CV reviewer’s time.

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    Thanks for your answer, english is not my native language and my CV on the other hand will be written in my native language. – aMJay Feb 1 at 12:05
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It does no harm (as long as you're not reusing something that is either trademarked or copyrighted), but don't bank on those factors.

During the initial process of screening, many a times the processing happens through an automated system which may completely ignore the formatting / visual representation and only check for match / similarity in the content (text-based).

Make sure you have the CV and cover letter updated and customized to show them why

  • you are interested
  • you are a good fit

for the position / role in the organization. That should get the job done. Don't let the visuals overwhelm the "content". That may have negative effect overall.

1

Just be careful, it MAY backfire.

The company may interpret this as an attempt from your side to show an affiliation with the respective company. Depending on the company's rules, they may get restless because of this - and overall it may lower your score.

As already mentioned, content and layout of the CV (read: experience presented professionally) it a lot more important.

Good luck!

Edit to add Note: It is very welcome by any interviewer if you present samples of your previous work. Just do it as documents attached to the CV (either paper or electronically - CD, flash drive...).

Other Note: My initial argument implicitly includes the idea of copyright issues. Jail is excluded in this case, but losing points may be on the way.

  • Well then your implied claim of copyright issues is utterly ridiculous. Using a company’s style in a case like this falls into the category of “fair use.” Unless the original poster plans on selling their resume/CV for profit this is a non-issue. – JakeGould Feb 1 at 12:15
  • I agree that it is not a big issue, but it may generate loss of points with the right (wrong?) interviewers. I would definitely not take that risk. In a school project, maybe. But in real life... – virolino Feb 1 at 12:22
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    I'm not sure I'd want to work for a company where bosses regularly plug thumb drives obtained from what could be literally anyone into company systems. That's a massive problem just waiting to happen. – a CVn Feb 1 at 21:42
  • @aCVn : Don't work where I do, then! I've seen this occur numerous times... actually, not just at my present employer, either. Yes, such threats exist. Many intelligent, caring leaders of organizations are just not too worried about that. This is a widespread reality. – TOOGAM Feb 2 at 11:00
  • Upvote because of good, vague language. The results can swing either way. What will work well for some employers will put off other employers, so a single definite answer won't apply to all potential employers. Some actions will be helpful with some employers, and harm efforts with others. Sometimes, you need to just choose what to gamble with. – TOOGAM Feb 2 at 11:02
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would it be a good idea, to mimic a company visuals in my CV when applying for a job?

I'd advise against this.

It can come off as try-hard and overcompensatory.


Your primary assets to this company are presumably your coding and design skills, which they should test you on throughout the interview process.

When you spend all this extra time stylizing your resume to mimic company visuals, it comes off like you doubt your primary assets and are trying to overcompensate for them.

Additionally, it comes off like flattery, which is something to be avoided:

excessive and insincere praise, given especially to further one's own interests


Your resume should:

  • be clear, concise, and devoid of spelling errors
  • list your primary accomplishments, projects, and work experience

It is not the medium for excessive ornamentation, because that can distract me and signal to me that you lack confidence.

  • Since when do bosses not like try-hards? – Tim Grant Feb 1 at 20:37
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    @TimGrant Well, that's a fair point. I intended for the focus to be more on the fact that it seems like you're over-compensating. Trying hard is good if you're investing the effort into the right thing. Trying hard to impress the interviewer with your fancy resume that mimics the company's style could send the wrong message. – pushkin Feb 1 at 20:50

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