You’ve probably heard the story about the go-getter with the unconventional resume design. The one that resembles a Facebook profile, infographic and movie poster all rolled into one. But do these flashy stunts work? The answer depends on the person you ask.
New Yorker Nick Begley reaped two job offers and a digital marketing position after sending his resume in the form of a candy bar. The nutritional information listed creativity, motivation, versatility, advertising and ecommerce as nutrients and ingredients.
A few weeks after Vine launched its video-sharing service, Dawn Siff, a former political director for Fox News Radio, created a six-second video resume that summarized her strengths as a journalist, strategist and “idea machine.” It took her four hours to produce it and six months to land a job as a project manager, but her new employer was “impressed” with her resume, according to CBS News.
As with anything, however, there are detractors.
Forbes spoke with recruiters, hiring managers, and one assistant director of a nonprofit organization, who all viewed such resumes as gimmicks and questioned the applicants’ seriousness.
Likewise, according to CBS News, “[j]ob site Glassdoor warns job seekers to avoid such antics and tone down resumes for better results. ” “In a recent blog post, Glassdoor asserted that the traditional qualities are still what work best: Research the company, know the name of the hiring manager, and know the corporate culture. And then tailor your cover letter and resume based on that intelligence.”
That’s great advice regardless of what type of job you’re applying for or where you’re applying, so here are some things to consider before you tinker with fonts, formats, color palettes and graphic design.
Are you applying for a creative position?
Of course, as Fast Company said, “Creative-minded individuals can be found in all disciplines, from the accounts payable analyst to the IT administrator.” But we aren’t talking about troubleshooters and innovators. An artistically designed resume or a video resume is better suited to a position in which creativity isn’t just appreciated, but expected. For example:
- Art directors
- Multimedia artists and animators who work in video games, television, advertising or music videos
- Graphic designers
- Fashion designers
- Interior designers
- Set and exhibit designers who work in theater, film, museums and trade shows
- Marketing executives
Each of these careers requires an eye for detail, imagination, communication skills and the ability to make wise decisions, which you can demonstrate by presenting the right type of resume.
Where is your dream job?
You may be applying for a creative position, but if it’s in a conservative industry, such as banking or law, you should probably submit a traditional resume that highlights your education level, skills, titles and start-and-end dates, which recruiters spend 80 percent of their time reviewing, according to eye-tracking studies. Additionally, some human resources managers use applicant tracking system (ATS) software that scans resumes for keywords. Since ATS can’t read fancy fonts, it will undoubtedly reject your infographic. If you send a video to a conservative company, you run the risk of aggravating the person you’re trying to impress.
“[E]mployers often balk at video resumes from a purely practical standpoint,” again per Forbes. “Consider that companies often install firewalls or block YouTube to prevent employees from watching videos in the office, or the fact that videos are large and take a long time to download. Videos created on a Mac may not play on a PC, or vice versa, or the recruiter may not have the software needed to view it. … There’s no better way to make a bad impression than sending a video resume that won’t play.”
If, however, you’re applying to a tech giant such as Google, you may want to go the creative route for two reasons. First, you need to stand out from competitors. Former recruiter Scott Bacon told Fast Company that he received about three million resumes during his one-year stint with the company. Designer Eric Gandhi landed an interview after posting a resume that looked like a Google results page on LinkedIn.
Second, as a writer for Undercover Recruiter stated, "Google is known for being unique in every respect … Any company whose employees descend slides and fire poles in the office instead of staircases has got to appreciate the outside-the-box thinking that such a resume demonstrates.”
Do you have the technical skills necessary to design a resume?
As every creative person knows, it’s one thing to visualize what you’d like to produce. It’s another thing to make it happen.
When Dawn Siff created her six-second Vine video resume, she recruited the help of video producer friends – and it still took four hours, including “10 or 12 takes and a few practice rounds.” She and her crew spent time adjusting lighting, experimenting with a tripod and replacing props to perfect the finished product that would represent her abilities to potential employers.
What is your goal?
When considering whether to submit an artistically designed resume or a video, it’s important to research your audience and tailor your content accordingly, but it’s just as crucial to remember your objective: to land an interview for the job you would most enjoy. Dawn Siff sought a position “at the intersection of journalism, storytelling, digital media, new technology, and marketing,” according to Buzzfeed. Consequently, she landed a job as a project manager.
Ultimately, if you’re a creative person who wants an active position in a creative industry, you should naturally submit an equally creative resume. We’ll help you and your ideal employer find each other.