Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Creative Resumes: Do They (Get) Work?

Every once in a while, I come across an article like this one: "13 Insanely Cool Resumes That Landed Interviews at Google and Other Top Jobs."

The premise is out-of-the box resume designs -- printed on unique paper, designed to look like a movie poster (or Facebook page, or Google search results page), featuring a QR code instead of text, etc. -- that is unconventional and landed the job. We get it -- you need to set yourself apart.

It's cute. But the article glosses over the reminder that these types of resumes work best when the "normal" job search principles apply:

  • Content is still king. Put it in a pretty package, but if you don't have anything to say, you'll get an interview, because they're curious about the person behind the package, but ...
  • You must have the qualifications to get the job. All of the resumes purportedly got an interview -- it doesn't say if any of them actually landed the job. (In fact, the "Google guy" got the interview, but not the job.)
  • Creative resumes work for creative fields. Out-of-the-box formats don't work for all industries. None of the samples listed were for an accounting firm or manufacturing company, for example. Which brings me to...
  • Size matters. That is, the size of the company you're targeting. Creative resumes are more likely to win interviews in smaller, especially entrepreneurial companies ... where risk is rewarded. They're also more likely to get to the desk of the decision-maker in a small company. As the job seeker behind sample number #5 pointed out, "HR people don't always respond well to this."
  • Don't make the employer do more work than necessary. A QR code is trendy, but if the hiring manager or company owner doesn't have the software (mobile phone app, usually) to access the code, the resume will be passed over. (As resume writers, we tell our clients the same thing with regard to boring things like .docx formats, so it's not just cool stuff that can derail your path to an interview ... it can also be boring Microsoft Word software versions...)
  • The federal government still is involved. With more and more recruiters and hiring managers Googling prospective hires, and candidates providing video segments and links to online profiles which feature photos, the lines are getting fuzzier about not using traits such as personal appearance to influence the resume screening process, since factors such as race, color, religion, sex, age, ethnic/national origin, disability, or veteran status cannot influence employment decisions.
  • It's about form and function. Rick Mundon, the man behind Orange Resume, "a website that designs creative resumes, business, and websites for job hunters" (it's the graphic of his sample resumes that's featured above) does make the point that "employers need to pick (the resume) up and know how to find your past work experience." Not all creative resumes "get" this.
  • Graphic design candidates can get away with a lot. See earlier comment about "creative resumes for creative fields." 'Nuff said.
As resume writers, we've probably all developed some creative resumes for our clients at one time or another (I can specifically recall one for a photographer and a couple for elementary school teachers that were out-of-the-norm and landed interviews), but the basic principles of a resume still apply. You must target the reader and demonstrate why this candidate deserves the interview ... and the job. The rest is .... well, window dressing.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely you are right! It makes nonsense when you have 3 pages of resume when it contains a lot of nonsense stuff about yourself. It is advisable to have 1 or two page of resume when it does highlights every portrays the reason why you are capable of being hired. - best way to write executive resume samples