Making the decision to change jobs is rarely easy, and usually terrifying. In doing so, you may be trading routine comfort for the great unknown. Sure, there are the obvious reasons to risk leaving one employer for another (higher compensation, wider network opportunities and professional growth come to mind) but the actual process of finding the right opportunity, putting yourself “out there” and being critiqued by potential supervisors can be daunting. I myself recently faced these same anxieties when I chose to leave my old job for bigger and better things at ChappellRoberts. At the time, I not only felt intimidated by these job-seeking tasks, but also pressured by the expectation to use one, if not many, digital platforms in my quest for the right career.
Let’s assume you’ve already navigated your way within the expansive black hole of positions found on sites like Indeed or Monster. And let’s also assume you’ve successfully networked with your peers on your LinkedIn and Facebook profile. If you’re in the market for a new job and think you’ve found a good match, you may assume that your experience and skills is your golden ticket. Well, think again. Over the past few years, the process of resume building has evolved into a full blown art. There are hundreds of digital programs and services that seamlessly format a perfect balance of text and design, thus transforming an average resume into a sleek personal advertisement. Many job seekers are even using their own professional resume websites to more effectively showcase their work and communicate their abilities. These innovative resumes are visually pleasing and impressive, and can turn a worthy candidate into a marketable superstar.
Remember when protagonist Elle Woods is accepted to Harvard and earns a coveted internship spot in the movie Legally Blonde? For those unfamiliar with the film, the ditzy but ambitious sorority girl demonstrates her qualifications by submitting an eccentric short-film and displaying her resume on pink, scented paper. While I’m not suggesting you make your portfolio smell like a Bed Bath & Beyond, I encourage you to think outside the box when conceptualizing the design of your resume. The letter format is old news. Instead, try experimenting with an alternative layout, distinctive professional highlights, or even audio and video.
Of course, a flashy resume can never replace actual talent or measurable performance results. And there is no guarantee that using this creative approach will land you the job. But leaving your traditional resume-comfort zone and experimenting with these innovative and challenging methods of self-promotion is an important part of professional development. As digital platforms become increasingly more accessible and efficient, they provide opportunities for us to stand out as individuals. Much like an advertisement does for a business, a unique resume allows you to capture attention, emphasize your worth and demonstrate your uniqueness.
My advice is to not let these digital professional platforms discourage you. These platforms exist to serve, not stress. Take their existence as an opportunity for creativity and self-improvement. Don’t sell yourself short by settling for plain-old words on paper. Use color. Use design. Use an unconventional strategy to stand out. Your effort will not go unnoticed!