Sending your CV as a text-based Word document may have you standing out for all the wrong reasons.
Step into the digital age. Image: via artrebels.com
Increasingly, creative job-seekers are supplementing their CVs with links to their digital portfolios, social media accounts, and even creating videos to showcase their skills and abilities.
Some job applications are so original they make the news. Designer Brennan Gleason printed his resume on a custom-brewed beer and used a QR code to direct prospective employers to his online portfolio. Then there was Graeme Antony, whose Curriculum Vitae Interactive Video went viral on YouTube, getting 300,000 hits and leading to numerous job offers.
Digital links are now a key selection criteria
Employers are helping to raise the bar too, with some being quite explicit about their expectations for a strong digital presence through their job advertisements. Melbourne-based Barefoot Investor recently advertised for a Head of Content. As an organisation that produces financial content across various media platforms and channels, a key selection criteria was to provide links to something they had written or produced, along with their relevant social media handles.
Other employers are not so specific about their expectations – it's implied in the nature of the role. It is assumed that candidates applying for a creative or digital position will be using all the platforms available to them as a way to demonstrate their skills and win them an interview.
Stand out from the crowd
Judy Sahay is a director of Crowd Media HQ, a creative digital media agency, with plenty of experience recruiting for the agency.
‘When you’re recruiting for creative talent it’s very hard to know someone from just reading their experience on paper. You really need to understand their thought processes; see samples of their work and obviously how they interact with others in a team and with clients,' said Sahay.
As a creative agency, Crowd Media is always impressed when candidates present their skills in a unique way.
‘On the ads for creative talent we ask candidates to do a quick 60-second video summarising their key skills, competencies and why they want to work for the company.
‘We see so many applicants each year, the ones that really stand out are those who put in the time and effort to show their creativity. Many of these people are now part of our team,’ she said.
One candidate presented his whole CV as a Facebook feed, with his personal details, experiences and interests. Another applicant who really stood out presented her CV in a CD. ‘It was using motion graphics and told a very interesting story of her life. Obviously she put a lot of effort into her CV and it was quite creative,’ said Sahay.
Other ways candidates can get the edge in the job market is to include links to a blog that tell the employer about the applicant; links to a specific Tumblr page or a Vimeo link, she suggests.
Go digital, even if the job isn't
When Shepparton Art Museum recently advertised a senior curatorial position, Director Kirsten Paisley was surprised there were few digital components in the applications coming through.
Paisley would expect to see a digital component in applications for other roles, too. ‘I think it is a useful tool to use where there is public speaking or a media role and you can include links to Vimeo,’ she said.
Put your own spin on your online profile
In an environment where employers and recruiters may sneak a look at your Facebook and other social media profiles, sending your own links lets you put your own spin on your digital first-impression.
‘If they are active in directing potential employers to particular links, applicants are able to shape in some way the online content and profile that employers see,’ said Paisley.
Don't forget the basics
But all the digital magic in the world won’t land you a job if you don’t get some of the old-school basics right too.
- If you have a LinkedIn profile it could be helpful to include it. But make sure you put in as much detail as you can about your experience. Half-baked profiles won’t cut it.
- If you are going to include links to a portfolio, make sure they are in good working order; and
- Get someone to check your grammar and spelling if it’s not your strong suit.
‘I come across so many CVs that are firstly addressed to the wrong person or company and secondly, have so many typos and spelling mistakes.
‘Even though we’re on the hunt for creative people, we still want staff who take care of their work and make sure it’s presented well,' said Sahay.