I Couldn’t Do It and Neither Should You

Posted on 02/02/2015

matches sparkingIt is now February and I just couldn’t do it again. Really, I couldn’t. Every year I update my resume, bios, etc. in February. Whether I’m looking for a new job or not, I update everything so it is current and fresh with my most recent work. I use this information for speaking references, article bios, organization bios and a host of other things besides simply looking for a job. I am a firm believer in the saying luck is when preparation meets opportunity. So each February I sure up my odds of good luck.

What I couldn’t do this year was write yet another bulleted listed resume of stuff I’ve done. Yes, I’ve had an impressive career and for the last many years that has had a heavy digital bent on top of tech industry experience. So why would I use a very old-fashioned resume to showcase my skills? Seems like a dated approach and I couldn’t do it again. So… what to do instead?

I’ve said many times that your resume is more than a piece of paper or PDF. Your resume is first and foremost your digital footprint – your LinkedIn profile, first few pages of search results on your name and any press or writing you have done. That’s all the public content of your career and it is what everyone sees first. The deeper details and specifics are often housed in a need-to-know format like a PDF or word doc that you send someone as needed. This is usually the bulleted list resume that frankly all look pretty much the same.

Regardless of your industry or functional working area, you can make yourself stand out more with a little creativity. Below are a few ideas that I’ve seen work well. Please add your ideas and experiences to the comments section. Together, let’s reinvent what a “resume” is.

  1. Create an infographic style summary of your career. Use color, iconography, etc. to show the highlights of what you’ve accomplished.
  2. Build a pull-quote kudos slide. Create a PowerPoint slide with recommendations and kudos in a pull-quote style. Vary the size and position of the quotes. Make sure the people you quote are ok with your using their name; otherwise you can use their title without a name.
  3. Do a video resume. Create a video summary of your experience that also showcases some of what you stand for and your perspectives on the area in which you work.  Build a short list of questions and answer them in a way that it looks like you’re being interviewed.
  4. Add to your LinkedIn profile. You can add external presentations, videos, etc. that showcase your work directly to your LinkedIn profile. Make sure the content is cleared for public view and not confidential. This adds context and depth to what someone reads in your profile.
  5. Consider a reference video as well. If people in your network are willing – either with an actual video of them or their picture and text overlay – have them describe your value in 3 words or 5 words or whatever makes sense.
  6. Make a catalogue of results-by-the-numbers. If you could list 3-5 major accomplishments or business impact you had in each job what would they be? Keep a running list to use as needed either in conversation or in written form so make sure it is visually done in an interesting way like a catalogue or ecommerce layout. Essentially you’re letting someone “shop” your skills for what they need.

So this February I’m off to build myself a more creative marketing package. What other ideas do you have or that you’ve seen work well?

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