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There are lots of ways to make a killer impression when you’re looking for a design job, but the tried-and-true method is to work on your resume. (Or CV, as we say outside of the U.S.) It sounds traditional and rote, I know, but the resume is a great place to showcase your creativity.
Back in 1992, when I was applying for jobs at newspapers, one of my mentors told me that the only thing I needed to do to make an impression with my resume was to have colored paper. That’s it. Fast forward 23 years and it’s obvious we have progressed a lot further than that.
We start with one that has a design similar to a form being filled in, but it could just as easily be a secret police file. Especially when you see the two thumbprints at the bottom. (But he forgot the DNA sample, so that’s not good.)
He has put down a lot of marketable skills which would certainly give him an edge in job interviews, but what’s with the blood type? Is he expecting to go into armed combat at any moment?
Tai Hsiung Huang
This is one which must have taken a lot of time, effort, and money to make. With this level of preparation, I think we can safely assume he wasn’t applying for the drive-through position at McDonalds.
The card in the top right is his business card. The disc probably has his full resume on it (maybe along with a video resume). And all the other parts? Put them all together and you get….
Now, if THAT isn’t memorable, I don’t know what is. I’d hire this guy on the spot.
You know the excited feeling you get when the postman comes to the door and hands you a box? “I have friends who love me!” Well, the potential employer who gets this box is in for a surprise when he opens it up, as it contains nothing but someone’s fold-out resume!
Quite a memorable way to grab someone’s attention, wouldn’t you say?
This resume, in the shape of a restaurant menu, certainly doesn’t skimp on the colors. It’s certainly… noticeable. But thankfully, as a visual communications student, she seems to know what colors go with what.
And I never thought I would say this about yellow polka dots, but they look really good on that resume. Now THAT is serious design talent.
The life of some designers perhaps revolves around drinking lots of coffee in coffee shops while they add the finishing touches to their latest project.
Therefore, it is perhaps fitting that this resume for a designer has a coffee cup and a coffee-stained napkin on it. It gives the appearance of the job applicant having scribbled his contact details on the cup, as you would perhaps do if somebody approached you in Starbucks and asked for your details on the spot.
I have to say this one REALLY appealed to me as I am a bit of a Charles Darwin fan. It’s unclear what job Federico is applying for — and that’s actually a strike against this particular resume design — but it’s so unique that it’s guaranteed to catch the attention of potential employers.
Sean is a pretty serious gamer, and since he is applying to a games company for a job, he has decided to style his resume as a character stats sheet reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons. Strength level, list of skills, special bonuses, weapons gained, that sort of thing.
With a resume like this, he stands a good chance of getting that gaming industry job, provided the company hasn’t already filled their quota of caffeine-fueled orcs.
Chuck has designed his resume in the style of the back page of a newspaper or magazine, back where the adverts would normally be. Each box is assigned a category, such as education, other experience, software proficiency, and more.
Most of all, the designs and colors give the feel of a publication from the 1950s and 1960s, which shows his ability to stylize according to constraints.
Ariane Denise Lunod
Ariane is a copywriter and it would seem from her resume that a writer’s desk must be an absolute mess. So, since mine is also so messy that I haven’t seen the surface in months, I must be doing something right.
But as a resume, it comes across as being a bit crowded. Too much information crammed onto the page. She could do with thinning it out a bit, but the overall design and concept is magnificent.
Doni Kristian Dachi
There is a big difference between honesty and too much honesty, and this guy takes honesty to the extreme by emphasizing how much he hated school and how he flunked every educational establishment he went to.
If that wasn’t honesty enough, he also says that his “learning source” was Internet Relay Chat! If he was applying for a job at your company, would you hire him?
I like the design of the resume, but what he chooses to reveal needs to be seriously changed if he wants to be taken seriously.
Seven Tips for Killer Resumes
OK, now it’s time to go over several resume improvement tips to ensure that your resume reaches the top of the pile.
Include a Photo
Telling a potential employer all about yourself is well and good, but by adding a professional photo, you are immediately personalizing your resume. You’re giving it a face and showing the company the kind of person who wants to work for them.
They can rest assured that you are not covered head to toe in tattoos and piercings.
Keep It Concise
Only in the military can you get away with just telling your name, rank, and serial number. In the civilian world, they want a bit more from you before considering you for a job. That said, however, saying too much can be just as bad. No one likes an egotistical waffler who likes to talk about himself for hours and hours.
So make the resume meaty with facts, but only give what is pertinent information. When writing it, ask yourself, “If I was the employer reading my resume, would I be about ready to hang myself about now?” If yes, start cutting words.
Don’t Embellish the Facts
As well as egotistical wafflers, another thing people detest are liars. Boasting to everyone you were in Special Forces and won two Medals of Honor won’t endear you to anyone when you fail to show the decorations.
Same with academic qualifications. Calling yourself Doctor, Professor, Attorney-at-Law… you might get away with that for a while, but eventually your lies will come back to haunt you.
And if you have a criminal record, don’t try to hide it. All it takes is one background check and you’re caught. So be honest, even if it makes you slightly dull. Sometimes dull is good.
Include Links to Social Media
These days, you would be extremely lucky if a prospective employer didn’t Google you and run your name through social media.
The two they are obviously going to make a beeline for are Facebook and Twitter — but if they ask for your Facebook password, you are under no legal obligation to give it to them. In fact, before applying for jobs, I would strongly recommend turning all your public Facebook posts and photos to “Friends” mode.
As for Twitter, take a good look through the past few months worth of tweets and delete any that might be misinterpreted and misrepresent you.
Use Some Color, But Don’t Overdo It
As we have seen from the resumes here, color certainly goes a long way to making the resume stand out. But too much color will destroy your employment chances completely. Who wants to read a resume and end up needing sunglasses to make it to the end?
So be conservative with your colors and ensure that the colors you do decide to use match. If in doubt, ask someone for advice.
No potential employer is going to take you totally at your word. Therefore, you are going to need two fine upstanding members of the community to vouch for you. Or normally, it’s two previous employers.
But if you were, say, caught stealing at your last job, getting that employer to vouch for you may not be a good idea. In that case, it may be time to roll out the priest.
Use Spellcheck and Proofread
Finally, nothing says “rushed slapdash job” more than a resume full of spelling errors. Spelling errors indicate to an employer that you didn’t take the time to check your work properly before handing it in. Is that the kind of message you want to convey to the company from the get-go?
So use spellcheck on the computer or get a trusted friend to check it over for you.
So here endeth today’s lesson on resumes. What does your resume look like? What should be on it, and not on it? Share your wisdom with us in the comments below!
Image Credits: Yu Xuan, Tai Hsiung Huang, Colm O’Connor, Justine Fernandez, Sid Santos, Federico Moral, Sean McNally, Chuck D.Lay, Ariane Denise Lunod, Doni Kristian Dachi, monysasu / Shutterstock.com, Businessman, bored and tired – Shutterstock, Liar Name Badge – Shutterstock, Social Media Superhero – Shutterstock, Businessmen With Paper Bag On Head – Shutterstock, Employee Reference Form – Shutterstock, Correcting An Essay – Shutterstock.