One looks like a movie poster. Another is a Facebook profile. One even requires a bar code. Are these insanely creative resumes a waste of time? Possibly, but these resumes landed job interview for their creators.
We asked career coaches if and when it pays to be creative. The consensus: It depends where you’re applying to.
“Your resume has to dress the part,” says career counselor Lynn Berger. “Just like you wouldn’t wear a miniskirt to a job interview, you need to match the resume to the job you’re looking for.”
Eric Gandhi got an email from Google after creating a resume that resembled a Google results page.
Joe Kelso, who made a resume like a monster movie poster, said his resume was his secret weapon: it got him an interview without fail.
Career coach Win Sheffield says you need to think back to the purpose of a resume: To get a meeting. “I read a book once where this guy sits down in a meeting and has a resume with bold letters, and it’s underlined, and the interviewer says, ‘I don’t approve of this resume,’ and the guy thinks to himself ‘well, I’m here.'”
'That resume was my secret weapon,' Joe Kelso told us. 'Every time I sent that out I got an interview without fail. So if I really wanted an interview somewhere, that's the one I would use. A lot of times, I got interviews even when I wasn't an exact match based on my experience.'
Kelso, who created this resume in 2007, landed a job through one of those interviews; but says his resume didn't go as far once the job market worsened.
'I've basically been getting no responses since the economy tanked. At this point though, I think a
lot of it comes down to other factors.'
'How brilliant is this?' said Steve Pratt on his blog, the Director of CBC Radio 3 who received this resume.
'She's taken a format everyone is familiar with -- the Facebook profile page -- and totally subverted it into a resume.'
Pratt, who couldn't hire Saccoccio at the time due to a hiring freeze, posted her resume on his blog hoping someone else could offer her a job.
Gandhi says that what has helped his Google resume is that it's a clever reworking of a familiar design, and most importantly, can be appreciated without additional context or an explanation.
'During an interview I had an employer ask 'What would happen if this was black and white?' It caught me off guard that in a sense. My resume itself was becoming a pivoting point in the negotiation of my position.'
Although he says he's gotten mostly positive feedback, he says his resume has caused mixed reactions. It mostly depends on who you're talking to, he says, and he gets much better reactions from people in creative positions than people in HR.
'In a creative business, it's almost standard to have a creative resume,' Rick Mundon told us. After helping a friend make this resume, he received so many emails about it that he decided to create Orange Resume, a website that designs creative resumes, business, and websites for job hunters.
But Mundon, who has an advertising background, says anyone needs a creative resume, but it has to be job-specific: 'You're not out there to get any job.' Functionality is also imperative, he says, because employers need to pick it up and know how to find your past work experiences.