Technology can be a creative, artistic field, and I love it when technology professionals use their skills to build one-of-a-kind resumes. When done well, they open doors and bring employers calling. Perhaps you saw or heard of the multidisciplinary designer, Robby Leonardi, who made his resume into a game? So creative in design and content, his dazzling resume was dubbed the “Super Mario” of resumes by Fast Company and has been seen by thousands through news coverage and sharing.
As someone who can end her day almost blinded by the paperwork and screens of traditional resumes, I am thrilled to come across an atypical technology resume that nails the skills, experience and background story. Creative resumes offer recruiters and hiring managers an opportunity to preview a candidate’s skills, from design and UX/UI capabilities to coding, organizational and communication abilities. Consider this resume, profiled on Business Insider, which emulated a Google search page in order to catch Google’s attention. According to Business Insider, it worked and the candidate landed the sought-after interview.
3 Tips to Resume Shock and Awe Success
Ingenious resumes show ambition and creativity, which will immediately bump you up on the candidate list of any hiring manager. However, you have to get it right and you have to get it to the right person. Many a creative resume goes to waste because its message wasn’t clear or it never reached its target. Want to get your standout resume noticed? Here are three pieces of advice to keep in mind as you brainstorm, execute and deliver a take-notice resume:
Tip 1: Know Your Audience
No matter who you are applying to and what you are applying for, “one size fits all” is not a good approach, period. Depending on the employer or industry, you are going to want to highlight different facets of your skills. The Google-search resume mentioned above targeted Google and spoke to the skills and experience the company looks for. Consider exactly who you want to respond to your resume and what they are looking for in an employee. Make sure your resume—no matter how outlandish or dazzling—still speaks to the qualities and skills most important to that business or field.
Tip 2: Research the Employer
If you are targeting a specific employer, do your research. It is amazing how much you can learn online about a company, its customers, its products/services and goals. Your research may help you determine which companies would respond to a creative resume (startups, tech firms, creative agencies) and which companies would prefer a more standard resume format.
Tip 3: Skip HR
Once your brilliant resume is ready to launch, it is time to work around HR. Because HR teams are focused on a company’s full and diverse staffing needs, creative resumes are more likely to be overlooked because they are outside the norm. In addition a company’s ATS (application tracking system), which is the tool HR teams often use to manage resumes and applicants, are not designed to embrace more creative resumes. Ironically if you are an IT job seeker, it’s sometimes technology that limits application and resume creativity. The ATS can restrict how resumes are formatted and submitted.
Rather than allowing your hard work to get lost in the shuffle or hindered by the ATS, use the resources you have—your personal and professional network, LinkedIn, Facebook, recruiting agencies and Web research—to get your resume straight to the hiring managers at companies you are targeting. These are the people who will immediately recognize the value and originality of what you are doing.
It is an exciting time to be in technology and employers want to be inspired and challenged by the people who work for them. So don’t be shy, be creative and strategic. A distinctive, inspired resume that is well done and well targeted is a smart and often wildly effective way to demonstrate the kind of creative, high-contributor you can be.