The world has changed. This is a clear-cut statement that nobody can argue with.
In an age where business, networking and personal relationships are built (and destroyed) via a bunch of dots on screens that we use to communicate on a minute-by-minute basis, isn’t it time that the Traditional CV layout be abandoned?
Sure, there are some industries where creativity wouldn’t be an important skill to possess in order to get a job or recognition during an application process, but since I am running a creative agency I will simply refer to Curriculum Vitae’s for people in the viciously-competitive, personality-based, and reputation-powered industries.
These industries were once very specialised and local, where you would hire a graphic designer, photographer, designer or media consultant depending on who was the best in your local area. This too has changed due to the wonder that is the internet. By linking businesses with individuals around the world, the competition for work has increased exponentially.
“So what does this have to do with my CV?”, you may be asking yourself. And allow me to elaborate by first starting with the obvious benefit of your CV being visually different from your competitors and then moving to a topic that I love talking to students about, namely ‘Personal Branding‘.
You are unique. Your CV should look and be unique too!
What is my main problem with the traditional CV layout? Simple. It’s boring.
As employers have hundreds or thousands of applications and CVs, the more unique yours looks – the more chance it has of grabbing the attention of whomever has the responsibility of thinning out the applicants to a short-list for deeper consideration.
In order to better demonstrate what one could do, I put together an example of how I would lay out my own CV if I were applying for a project-management position. Pop over and check it out in all its glory right here: http://ektgn.eu/HectorCV (Do not misinterpret that this is how I envision all CVs looking like and it’s a pretty quick draft of how I would structure mine)
In the example provided, I have broken away from the traditional layout and adapted a timeline approach (and yes, this timeline idea was designed before Facebook announced their timelines) to demonstrating my Work Experience, Internships, Own Projects and Education on a single page.
The use of colours, an icon-key and a quick over-view of details on each item allows the reader to quickly get a clearer picture of who I am once it catches their attention. Companies who would disregard this effective/efficient approach of portraying all my information, might not be able to utilize my full potential. Which brings me to the next topic… Personal Branding.
You are unique. And so is your personality!
With the spread of the internet, individuals are always able to maintain their personal image whether they are employed, at university, freelancing or seeking employment. And why shouldn’t they?
Just like companies are now able to find talent from around the world, you too can be presented with opportunities from around the world. These opportunities might be presented to or found by you. At the end of the day it all comes down to where you are happier. Imagine working with a company where they fully utilize your potential, and where your personality fits in with the company’s!
If you already are, like me, working somewhere that ‘feels right’, then congrats you are part of the lucky few. I do however still pay a lot of attention to my Personal Branding, mostly to stay up to date with the latest techniques and to try out some new ideas.
People around the world have gone into a panic about how HR people are analysing their social-media photos, status updates and links during the application processes though. Potential employees have created thousands of new ‘business-friendly’ profiles that portray themselves as corporate zombies, having less personality than a rubber chicken. Don’t! You are marketing yourself, not the zombie that you believe ‘they are looking for’.
Instead take the time to unify your profiles around the internet into a clearer picture of who you are.
Look at how I have done so by taking a peek at my personal social media presences on Twitter or on Facebook. You will notice that I have displayed one ‘image’ across both networks, that deal with totally different kinds of people and portray different sides of my personality in their own way.
If they do not want you for your opinions, personality and traits, how long can you see the employment being mutually beneficial? Until you become a lifeless droid and the company is forced to replace you with someone who better provides the spark that they have now extinguished in you?
Trust me when I say that employers in the creative industries do not want a zombie who just conforms to the pre-set requirements, but instead are looking for those daring individuals who break the mould, are self-confident and want to share their spark through their work.
I hope I have given you something to think about, and if you do disagree with any of the statements I have made, please feel free to comment below.