Ahh, the professional resume and cover letter. The deciding factors in any employer's hiring process and the “UGHH” moment in every applicant’s search for work.
For creatives, resumes and cover letters can be an especially touchy subject. Most of us dread the very idea. There are no pictures, no room for artist statements, no way to truly express who you are as a creative individual...
Like pagers, automatic seat belts, and dial up internet, the professional the resume/cover letter combo feels like a clunky, text-heavy, and forever uncool relic of the past. Most of us agree that there’s just something about 12 point Times New Roman font that seems to suck the life out of everything it touches. But, go for something more “fun" like Comic sans, and you run the risk of not being taken seriously by other professionals.
But I say to you, fellow creatives, your resume can be (and should be) every bit as sexy as your portfolio! It should build interest for employers as to who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Not only does a good resume show who you are and what jobs you’ve held, it shows employers that you take yourself and your craft seriously!
So let’s get to work, let’s #MakeResumesCoolAgain!....yea I went there.
10 simple tips to help get you and your work noticed.
1: Spelling matters
It doesn't matter how dazzling, charming, and creative you are, if your resume contains spelling and grammar errors, no one is going to want to listen. Read your resume out loud with a friend, use spellcheck; and, if you want to be extra thorough, we recommend Grammarly.
2: Choose a sexy type face
"Helvetica" is always a safe choice. It's clean, professional, and modern. "Avenir Next" and "Brandon grotesque" are great if you want just a little more personality! Never use more than 2 different typefaces in your resume!
3: Be relaxed, be confident, be conversational
Do your best to condense your resume into 1-2 pages, anything more, and it becomes hard for employers to keep interest. Say only what's necessary, say it with confidence, and leave them wanting more. Stay away from phrases like "I Believe", "best of breed", "highly qualified", and "responsible for".
4: Know when and where to let your personality shine
Beginning your resume with a general statement of purpose is a great way t let your personality shine. Using 8-12 words, express the topics or things you are most creatively, and professionally passionate about. Think of this as your personal/artist mission statement.
If you're going to design your resume using Photoshop, Illustrator, or an online template program, be sure that your design is clean, simple, easily navigable, and caters to the aesthetic personality of the employer you are sending it no. (note: no more than 3 colors in your design)
5: Play up your success
You are awesome. Let everyone know! Your resume is your best opportunity to brag a little about yourself. Seize the opportunity by sharing with potential employers, the things you are most proud of and excited about. Make sure your tone and word choice are energetic, confident, and not too robotic.
1: Spelling. STILL. matters.
Call up a friend and read your resume out loud, email it to a grammatically-inclined relative, or have the guy sitting next to you on the bus check it for mistakes. It doesn't matter how you do it, just make sure your cover letter and resume are bulletproof when it comes to grammar and spelling.
2: Compliment the employer and let them know why you care
Feel free to acknowledge your potential employer's success. Complimenting them on something they've achieved or continue to do is a great way to let them know that you've done your research and that you share similar goals and passions.
3: Time to brag about yourself a little!
What makes you tick? This is your chance to be a little more conversational in listing your interests, goals, and aspirations. Market yourself to be, not just an employee, but an asset to the employer's team and mission.
4: Connect the dots between yourself and the employer
Now that you've told them a little about who you are, begin making the connections between your own passions and your potential employer's needs. How can you help inspire growth in this new setting? Which of your unique assets makes you a "No-Brainer" candidate for the job?
5: Be concise. Don’t reveal too much
Remember, a one-page cover letter is a long cover letter. Be careful not to say too much. This is, after all, your first date. Leave them wanting more.