We recently told you the story of Alec Brownstein, the young copywriter in search for a job. Instead of sending CV he bought Google Ads for the names of the heads of the companies he was targeting.
Aug 26, 2010
His ad said, "Dear Mr. [the CEOs name], Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too.” Mr. Brownstein found a job in his dream company. Although many are fascinated with his creativity and innovative approach, the question we posed was “How Original is Too Original”? Creative techniques are notable, but it is also not by accident that these success stories become internationally famous. - only a few of them are a real success. Most fail, in favor of the traditional application methods, well established and tested with time.
Here is a summary of your thoughts on the matter.
Experienced recruiters, who commented on our discussion, agreed that “the best way to set yourself out from the crowd is to have really robust achievements… The BEST of resumes get about 15 seconds of read time on the first pass. The human eye is drawn to numbers and having numbers, % and $ signs and acronyms that the reader can easily recognise is key to increasing resume 'stickiness' ” In the end, “your CV has one goal only - to get you on a shortlist as a potential candidate for interview. 99% of times, this means making sure it is Search Engine / Database friendly” which would imply using the traditional standards for composing it.
Although it might be true that some sectors appreciate more the originality in CVs and applications forms than others, on a general note, we would advise that for your CV you maintain the standard tone and typical format. One of the discussion contributors mentioned that a “trick” to be original in a standard CV would be in the lower sections of your Curriculum. For example, you can easily include a passion of yours – sports, art, music, etc… and get that as a USP (unique selling point) for your application. Mind you, that whatever you include as a special interest of yours in the CV should really be a special interest of yours, as a reader said “If you can’t think of anything more inspiring than 'going to the cinema' 'reading' and 'socialising with friends' leave it out! You will come across as dull and lacking in imagination. Your trek up Kilimanjaro, charity fund raising, Salsa classes etc could make you a much more interesting proposition.”
This all goes back to the basic problem – the saturated job market. “The main issue candidates face when looking for a new job is not even getting the chance to interview (because their CV is never even seen) - and this is down to how saturated the job market is. There are hundred's of CVs per job. The core issue for this is that candidates fail to state quickly and effectively what job they wish to be considered for and why they should be considered for it.” There was one reader who shared a very clear example of why being too original (for the position you are applying) can easily backfire. Here is what he said: “[I] Have had a case where the candidate sent me their resume, which look like an advertisement folder, using bright color letter combinations and the format as an advert for a color-printing studio. We're looking at that time for a strong candidate with seniority in finance, focused on audits and number crunching. The resume of the candidate was special, but didn't make it pass the CV selection based on the mismatch of the candidates’ personality and working culture.” As can easily be seen, being too original in a traditional environment is highly likely to be a losing strategy.
What we advise, especially in the sectors of our expertise, Finance and Banking, is to follow the well established rules and to find creative and unobtrusive ways to stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, you are risking both the job you are applying for and your future reputation among employers. “In summary, 'original' is no use to you if you do not tick the boxes of a traditional resume/CV because when you fail to do so it will never be seen in the first place”.
Growinfinance.com would like to express gratitude to all who commented on our post “How Original Is Too Original”. The Growinfinance.com team found your input very valuable.
Article with Alec Brownstein story here.
The Growinfinance.com Team