Allow me to paint you a picture:
You’re sitting in front of your computer, staring (at this point a little cross-eyed) at the bright screen. You click on page, after page, after page, of job postings – hoping, praying, and pleading that you match the description for just one of them.
Finally, when you start to see double, and you can barely make out the words on the screen, you find it. The Holy Grail of job postings! It’s perfect! You have the education, you have the experience, you have everything they want and more! It’s as if the heavens opened up, shown a bright, holy, light down upon this one job opening, and the angels started singing to you.
You click the “apply” button, and painstakingly fill out every single section. You answer the questions with the most gusto you can possibly muster. You do such a great job that you want to hire you!
Then you proofread like your life depends on it (which, it may or may not at this point!). You have your mother, your friend, your dog walker and your postal carrier proof read it. Everyone agrees that they would be the world’s biggest mistake EVER not to hire you.
With the confidence of a General with The World’s Best Army behind him, you hit “submit”.
And then the (very) harsh reality strikes you.
You, my perfect job candidate (or General Of the World’s Best Army), have just become a teeny tiny little number in a turbulent, stormy, sea of other numbers. No amount of proof-reading postal workers can help you now.
I’m not that old. I’m 26. Young enough to have always had a computer in my house (true story, I remember the days of the good ‘ol amber screen!), but old enough to remember applying for a job on paper.
I remember sitting at my desk and filling out a paper application as carefully as I could. I remember using my best hand writing, and swearing up and down (very quietly, my mom is not a fan of swearing) when I made a mistake. I remember printing my (very simple) resume on the nice, thick paper, and getting dressed up to go drop off my resume and application. I remember acting as professional (as 16 year old can.. *eye roll*.) as possible, and smiling a lot. And I remember getting jobs. They may have been a summer job at the local day camp, or a job at the daycare on campus (unfortunately I was not a child prodigy CEO at the age of 17), but I made a good impression, and got a job.
In the age of the computer, all of that effort has gone by the wayside. Now, my General friend, that is not to say that you didn’t put as much effort and care as in the “paper age” (you asked your dog walker and mail carrier to proof-read for god’s sake!), it’s more the glaringly obvious problem that all that extra effort doesn’t really matter at all. You become a number on a screen to that potential employer, not the girl/guy who showed up at your (insert place of employment here) with application and resume in hand, and a personality that fit perfectly with the current staff.
So how do you become a massive, honking, iceberg (roiight ahead! Sorry, but who can resist a good Titanic moment??) rather than a little snowflake in the sea of job applications?
You’ve gotta get creative, General friend!
Now comes the point where you are expecting me to whip out some genius answer about the 97 ways to land a job. Spoiler alert: I wish I had the answers to “what’s creative”, but I don’t. I’m struggling just as much as you, General friend, with a way to make my own resume stand up and shout – and wave its arms – from the rooftops. *mental note, try adding arms to resume….hmmm*
I did, however find a few people who managed to stand out, in a massive iceberg (roiight ahead!) kind of way:
Check out this guy who created and ad for top CEOs when they googled themselves, or This guy who made his resume look like an Amazon page, or This one took out a billboard ad, Or this lady who took a more seasonally appropriate approach.
So with those unbelievable examples for your inspiration, General friend, go create. Go make yourself stand out, in that stormy, turbulent sea of numbers, and land that dream job (and then thank your proofreading postal carrier with a Holiday Card!)
What’s the most creative resume or job application that you’ve ever created or seen? Let me know in the comment section!