We at Reverse Tide constantly harp on and on about how boring resumes are. Why on earth does it have to be this way? Can’t we create creative resumes instead?
Let’s be perfectly honest… when recruiters and hirers only spend an average of 5-7 seconds on each resume, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing for the recruiter that might miss the best candidates. But it’s even more embarrassing to each applicant. Your life’s work is so uninteresting that hirers can’t bear to spend more than a few seconds looking at it.
So don’t you think something needs to be done?
Don’t you think you can represent your professionalism and capabilities in a way that demands respect and attention?
You should! Otherwise don’t write on your resumes that you’re creative, innovative, or think outside the box.
The question is how you can do it better? And our solution is to start building creative resumes. What are creative resumes? Simple. It takes all the content (skills, experience, etc) from the traditional resume and makes it interesting to read. This means you get rid of bullet points and think like a marketer would. Marketers create interesting commercials. Eye-catching packaging. Catchy slogans.
That’s all you’re doing here. This isn’t to make a joke about the resume but to package it in a way that forces a recruiter to actually read it. You will be surprised at how effective this is. When the recruiter reads 200 boring resumes, they will love it. And hiring managers will often be impressed by your innovative style. So let’s explore some creative resumes we’ve considered…
1 – Creative Resumes: A cartoon
Ever read the Dilbert cartoons? They actually provide some really insightful commentary on business topics. Yet it’s a silly looking cartoon. So why can’t you use the exact same principles on your resume? A few ideas…
- Instead of saying you’re a problem solver, write a funny cartoon about a scenario from your past and how you solved the problem that scenario presented. I guarantee the recruiter is more likely to read it and then be intrigued about other elements of your resume.
- Draw a cartoon related to the company you’re applying toward. So pick an issue that you know they’re challenged by or something in the news and bring a humorous light to it. However, use that as a lead-in for your proposal on how you can help them with this challenge.
- Maybe you use illustrations to reference specific qualifications that you really want to highlight. Nothing wrong with calling special attention to your best professional features
I know what you’re thinking… but isn’t a cartoon the opposite of being professional (which a resume is supposed to be)? Perhaps. You might not draw a cartoon to apply for a CEO position. However, this is a great way to show creativity, draw attention to your resume, and highlight specific messages to recruiters. So it can be a useful tool in at least getting an interview.
2 – Creative Resumes: Infographics
I love infographics. Think about what they are… a creative way to show statistics and other relevant information. No matter what the context, they’re so much more interesting than merely writing text on a blank Word document. So why wouldn’t you use that exact rationale in putting them in your resume?
You’re probably asking if all these graphics are professional? Yes. Data scientists, researchers, and journalists all use infographics to present findings. It’s an attention-grabbing presentation style. So you can use the same in your resume.
Use the same graphics, colors, and interesting ways of presenting information. You hopefully have quantitative metrics to show your proficiency. So present those in the same way as infographics do. Once again, you’re drawing attention to the most important sections of your resume.
3 – Creative Resumes: Customer feedback and how you’d solve it
Every employer wants to hire people that add financial value or help them solve an important problem. What a better problem to solve than actual customer feedback. These days, you can always find feedback on a company. It might be a customer review board like Yelp. Or a specific review article from a professional writer. Maybe a media quote. It doesn’t matter where you found it… you should take a customer’s criticism and turn it into a proposal strategy for your own application. Then stick it right in your resume. After all, resumes are supposed to be about showing your qualifications to solve a company’s problems.
The key here is to really present it in a creative way. So let’s give an example. Let’s say you’re a web developer and you noticed customers were complaining about the company’s product purchase page. You, as a web developer, probably have all kinds of great skills in your resume already (programming languages, past projects, etc). But that all pales in comparison to helping them solve their most critical technical issues.
So use ¼ page explaining how you’d help them with this problem. Articulate the source of the problem. Explain how you’d approach solving it (in your experience). Explain how your past experience would be valuable in bringing valuable insight to the solution and implementation of fixes. And perhaps even some financial benefits to investing in such a fix. That section on your resume would be your most valuable to this company. You’re making it about them rather than yourself. That’s always a good thing if you present it right!
4 – Creative Resumes: Small game or program aimed at recruiter
How cool would this be! After reviewing 300 pages of bullet points, a recruiter actually gets to play a game. That’s sure to divert their attention for more than 5 seconds. Perhaps you developed a simple game on your resume website and as you move from left to right through this game, it unlocks your qualifications or portfolio items. Or maybe the game resembles a role player game where all your qualifications are there but by clicking on them, it brings up a demonstration of each skill. Maybe it does a comparison of your skills to the average competitor.
Be creative. The game isn’t meant to be anything overly complex but just an interactive way to highlight your professional accomplishments. Like many of these other examples, you’re only showing creativity by using it.
5 – Creative Resumes: A video with your interview already done (but with comedy built in)
Laughing is always good no matter what the circumstance. So perhaps you can integrate some comedy into your resume. One idea for this is a video “mock interview”. Have you ever seen the late night comedy sketches that interview a celebrity impersonator? Perhaps you do something like that with common interview questions.
If you’re creative enough, you can answer real questions but with a little humor mixed in. Who wouldn’t want to bring you in for an interview with something like this built in to your resume? At the very least, you’re innovating the resume process and entertaining them. However, you can also use that attention to highlight how strong you are at this job.
These ideas aren’t necessarily appropriate for every job. For example, an internal auditor might not want to do any. But the moral of the story is thinking more creatively. Resumes don’t have to be boring. Why we write bullet point resumes is beyond comprehension. Nobody likes them. And it’s no surprise that recruiters spend less than 10 seconds on them.
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