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Re-thinking your CV/Resume

As a marketer, you can't help but watch the latest happenings in Washington and think about the marketing implications of this debt war and the high unemployment numbers. The job numbers may actually result in a huge opportunity for some. That opportunity is the fundamental changing of the traditional job resume or CV (curriculum vitae). If you have been in the job market for any time period and have both tried to be creative with your active word choice (developed, designed, delivered, created, generated) for that tired resume or if you have been on the hiring side reviewing these lackluster documents, you know as well as I do that the time for the CV/resume overhaul has come!

In the marketing industry in particular, I for one am tired by the only variety on the page being font choice or links. WE are the creative class afterall!! Still, how many of us second guess ourselves because of the kind of company we are submitting the CV to? If it is a financial services, pharmaceutical, automotive or government entity, creativity may actually be seen as a negative, right? But if we are truly to present our best selves, our true selves, is it really necessary to conform in a way that makes us part of the "sea of sameness" or can we take a chance and show what we can really do?

It is not a trivial question. This past week, the USA Today had a front page headline touting that half of the non-farm payroll gains in the past two years have been created in the state of Texas. Wow! Texas, as we know is a fairly conservative state yet also touts some of the most progressive start-ups in our industry located in its trendy capitol city of Austin. So, do we adjust our resume for the times? The state? The industry? How many versions do we need?

Then, consider the effort that people put into their own websites, or social sites. Many of them include everything from their CV as well as published articles and even some personal anecdotes. How can a 2-dimensional piece of paper capture all of that and serve all of the constituencies and nuances of the business itself while separating us from the pack without ostracizing us at the same time?

I don't know for sure but as someone who sees their fair share of CV's and has created dozens of my own versions, I was intrigued by this article. "7 Ingenious Resumes That Will Make You Rethink Your CV" http://on.mash.to/iW20b0.  If you click on this link, you will see several CV's that are really thoughtful but some, in my opinion, have some serious flaws. Here are a couple from that blog and my assessment on how they can work to help or hinder the marketer on their job quest.

1. This was called the "Multi-Dimensional" Resume

I give this big points for creativity but for most company's, at least traditional corporations, this may make Meghan seem a bit A.D.D. I think that the idea here is great but the 3-D attempt can make this seem almost confusing. For an agency or creative company, it may be spot on. For any other company, it may feel like work to figure out or a ruse to hide the fact that there is precious little substance. Too much creativity can bring the skeptic out in some.

2. This was one was touted as Design Being Matched with Style

This to me felt like a reverse evolution of the one prior. It is in black and white and while it has a similar feel to the first, it is more orderly, with greater detail and is easy to follow. I also like the QR code attached offering the reader a chance to "interact". I think that you could submit this to most companies for most mid-level and below positions in marketing and make a statement, in a good way. But any executive level position will require much more than is included here. I do think that it is distinctive enough to also stand out in the agency and creative company world.

3. This one was dubbed "Video Killed the Resume Star?"

This was described as a video where the reader/watcher could interact with the video and click on words on the screen to learn more. There were sections on "About Me", Portfolio, Skills Page, Timeline and Contact Info. I give this high marks assuming the company is reviewing online resumes versus printing them out in some big HR file. This is an opportunity to tell the story yourself, in a quasi-interview format. The upside, is that if you have a strong personality and are telegenic, this may get you in the door. The downside is if the person viewing either doesn't watch the whole thing, can't find the bit of information they are looking for without several minutes of dialogue, or if they feel that they no longer need the interview because of the format. Chemistry is key in choosing a job so you don't want to forego that! Still, it is a nice combination that works well in traditional as well as creative settings. I would send a hard copy of a CV along with the link, just in case.

4. Wear Your Resume

'Nuff said:)

Bottom line, I think that there is definitely room for a CV/resume make-over in the world, particularly for marketers. Still, the whole world is not quite where many of us are in terms of our understanding of the social marketing sphere, nor in the Twitter-esque shorthand of communication. My advice is to spice things up, be visually appealing, but know your audience. Details are important so don't think creativity is a substitute. And, in general, don't go overboard unless you have a lifeboat waiting in the water for you in the form of a back-up job:)

Julie Roehm is SVP Marketing, "Chief Storyteller" at SAP. Formerly, as a Marketing Strategy Consultant she served companies in all industries, of all sizes. Her client list includes, Credit Suisse, Time Inc., BIAP, Acxiom, ad agencies, and...

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