Geeky Resumes and More: Know Your Audience

Video resumes.  Retaggr cards.  Portfolios on lovely-labeled DVDs. profiles.  Personal web pages.

What counts as a "resume" today seems to be a collection of items and supplements, all swirling around the actual print (or electronic resume).  Today's resume is an amorphous, complex thing, that's frankly confusing – because there's just so many amazing and cool things we can do.  Let's call them "Resume Materials"

Some of us remember when all you needed was a cover letter and a resume and maybe a portfolio because that was all you could do.  Making a videotape or a Flash presentation and the like just wasn't something people did in their job searched.  Of course what people do now has been empowered by all the technology that . . . well people like us are using.

There's a lot of options for the progeeks out there to go beyond a simple resume and into a crazy world of amazing resume materials..  However, there's an important question to ask before you burn the DVDs, make the video interview, and soforth.

That question is . . . does it actually do any good?

Right now we have plenty of ways to go beyond the standard CV (take it from a guy with a personal webpage and business cards designed like trading cards).  However, even if we can do it, even if it fits what we do as progeeks, it will mean nothing if its not what your audience is looking for – or delivered in a way they expect.

A video resume may sound great for  a job in video editing, but is it just going to seem overblown and self-aggrandizing to a more button-down company?  A personal web page and resume sounds all professional and personal-branding-esque, but if you make it too serious, is that hip and wild art studio going to hire you even if you've got the technical chops?  Will your fancy holographic business card seal the deal with your skills or not even be noticed by someone who doesn't have an eye for artistry or cool stuff?

So when you're building those Resume Materials, here's what you want to keep in mind:

  1. Will whatever fancy, high-tech, or simply cool method you're making actually improve communication?  If your personal webpage and porfolio has a "look and feel" that communicates who you are, that's good.  Does the video resume help sell you as who you are, or is it just a neat thing you're doing?  Make sure anything fancy or neat in your Resume Materials adds communication.
  2. Will people "get it?"  A portfolio on CD that shows your work is a nice idea.  However if the place you're looking for work or the client doesn't see that this shows your skills at constructing a useful electronic porfolio, it may not be worth it.
  3. Is it worth the time and money?  Yes, your new pop-up business cards are neat, but are they going to bring you any benefit in the job search or just be a novelty.
  4. Does your geeky Resume Material say something about what you can do.  If you're an artist and you're communicating your Flash ability, then a Flash-based portfolio on a website or a CD is good because it says "I have Flash skills, which is useful to me as an artist".  If you're a Project Manager . . . not so much.
  5. Will anyone care about what you're making?  Yes, you can make a Flash-driven resume on DVD that is technically adept and interactive, but will your target market actually care?

In the world of Resumes and Resume materials, take advantage of the technology out there and the skills you have.  Just make sure that your great creations actually help in your job search.

– Steven Savage