Creative Resumes

by Michael Haberman on May 27, 2014 · 4 comments


Sometimes to get noticed you have to step outside the box.

Sometimes to get noticed you have to step outside the box.

When you are looking for a job sometimes it pays to step outside the box and get creative in your presentation. It all depends on several factors on whether this is a good strategy.

Auto body resume

Every once in a while you hear a story of someone standing on a street corner wearing a sandwich board with their resume printed large on the board. This is usually in a big city and it may attract a news reporter on a slow day to stop and interview the person. In this way it is a good tactic to get recognized and to stand out from the crowd.

Unemployed automotive engineer Denny Poulet went a step further and had an electric rental car body covered with decals that as a whole were his resume. This Frenchman then drove the car around the city of Marseille. He drove the same route for 10 days and he would stop and chat to people along the route. Naturally his resume was the subject of discussion. His tactic worked and he ended up with several job offers.

History of Art

One of the most creative resumes I ever received in my recruiting days was from a gentleman who was looking for a position as an artist. His first name was Arthur. His resume came as a small book with the title The History of Art. He was not qualified for our position but I certainly gave him credit for creativity and I do remember his resume to this day.

The purpose of a resume

The purpose of a resume is to highlight a candidate’s experience. There are different methods of doing this. Certainly a creative presentation will make a resume standout from the pile. But you need to temper that creativity with a dose of reality and pay attention to the type of job and company the resume is being sent to. Sending a creative resume to an advertising firm might work, sending one to a conservative accounting firm may not. Of course just the opposite might be true instead.

What is creativity?

That is a hard question to answer. Creativity is in the eye of the beholder. I received a cover letter one time that looked like a ransom note, words cut and pasted from various magazines. Not creative in my book, just creepy.

I can tell you what creativity is not. Creativity is not deception or lying. Falsifying your education or your work experience is not creativity in anyone’s book and will spell you doom with that job search.

Seek help

Doing a resume is not easy. I have seen thousands and thousands and I counsel people on what to put on them. It is never easy. Sorting through the years of your experience and understanding what about you works on a piece of paper is a difficult task to do objectively. That is why I recommend you get a professional to help you. They can help you make the best professional presentation possible to help you distinguish yourself from other candidates. Then if that doesn’t work there is always a billboard.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Pilenzo, PhD, SPHR May 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Although this may sound stupid, what happened to ‘informational interviewing’ or when someone looking for a job visits an organization and asks for an interview? The purpose is to gain information face to face from an organziation you may or may not wish to join. Getting an interview under these circumstances is going to be difficult, but it is possible. Consider this. If you go to an organziation (pick those you think you actually might wish to join) and tell them you may or may not be interested in their company, but want some information from a representative (HR or not) and ask questions as if you are the “buyer” not the “seller” or in fact that you do not need a job, the dynamics of the interview change and you are in the drivers seat – not the HR department. During the inteview should you get one, ask the kind of questions that a buyer would ask – not a seller with hat in hand. Let them understand that you are looking for the right organization, with the kind of culture you need for your career and take it from there. You may be wasting your time, so pick the companies correctly and you might just find an organization that you like and one that may like you. I recognize this is a chancy way to seek a job, but you might just find a gem. Just don’t come across as someone who “needs a job” and you might be surprised at the results. Good luck.

Reply

Michael Haberman May 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Hey Ron… I think the informational interview is a great method, in fact I recommended it to a student of mine just last week. I am not sure how many people have the patience to work that method.

Reply

Sayward Masselter May 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

What about Video resumes? Is this something that is trending? Or when you are in an interview, pulling out your tablet and showing a video of you demonstrating some of the skills that are on your paper resume?

Reply

Michael Haberman May 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Sayward:
I think people are still leery of video, both candidates and employers. But it will make you stand out if you can do it well.

Reply

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