Level up your job search in 2017 with a creative resume + Life Updates

Resume, career, freelance

get The Job you deserve in 2017!

The New Year is upon us which means  (hopefully) you’ve already plotted, planned and written down your goals for 2017. One goal that undoubtedly shows up on most lists at the start of the New Year is “increase income” either with a new job, more freelance/side work or a combination of the two. A fresh resume that stands out from the rest is one way to breathe new life into your job/gig search.

If you haven’t done a major overhaul to your resume within the last year, we need to talk. An outside of the box resume is the only way to go in 2017. The competition is stiff so it’s time to toss that old stock Monster.com drivel and break out design elements like illustrative icons, fancy fonts, profile photos and cool colors (GASP). Yes, I said color. It’s 2017 for goodness sake!

If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why do I even need a resume?”. That may be true for many but you never know what opportunity may cross your path. There’s an old Proverb from a hood philosopher that goes, “if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready”. Typically, I use my online portfolio and writing samples in lieu of a resume for freelance work but I have applied to gigs that require one so better to be safe than sorry.

The key is to write and design your resume in such a way that it reflects your personality and… Click To Tweet

If you’re a “creative”, you definitely want your resume to stand out heads and tails above the rest. There is heavy competition in most creative industries. If you’re wondering what a “creative” is, I’m referring to the graphic designers, makeup artists, photographers, freelance writers, copywriters, marketers, advertising professionals, fashion designers, public relations managers, etc. Everyone is vying for these cool jobs and the opportunity to “level up” up their skills and experience.

I’m going to give you the lowdown on how I created a resume that landed me an awesome Marketing/Communications opportunity at a Fortune 500 company and a spot in a Top 10 graduate school M.S. Communications program! I’ve also received responses from ad agencies that I applied to which is better than cold, hard silence. Ad agencies are a tough sell with little to no agency experience.

But first, here are a few reasons why you should toss that black and white yawner of a resume and get creative:

Employers get a glimpse of the kind of employee you’ll be

Do you go that extra mile? Your resume is the first chance you get to make a good impression. You don’t want it to be ho-hum like the other 500 applicants. Take it a step further and show them who you are before the interview. A resume doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it a fun project! It sets the tone for your interview and your tenure assuming you get the job.

Employers get an idea of your design sensibility

Do you shun risk or do you take chances? To be honest, I’ve contemplated an untraditional resume in the past but I wasn’t quite brave enough to go through with it. I was in commercial/retail real estate for a long time and conventional (read: boring) resumes were the norm. I consider my personal style to be one part conservative to two parts edgy, so it always made me nervous to be too “out there” with potential employers. You don’t want to turn them off but you can strike a balance, even if your industry is more suit and tie than flip flop and khakis.

 you’re an ‘outside the box’ thinker

Are you a leader or a follower? You can say you think outside of the box and take chances…or you can show them. It takes guts to do something out of the norm. Career websites give us a standard resume format and we follow suit like zombies. You’re not going to do that this year!

If you have a design background, blog or brand then you should take advantage of it by using your own brand colors so it’s consistent. You can be certain that the person doing the hiring will visit your website, if you have one (you do have one, right?). Wouldn’t it be nice if your aesthetic flowed straight through from start to finish? This shows them that you know the importance of branding. Believe it or not, even if you work in corporate America you are your own brand.

why i overhauled my resume plus life updates

Last year, I decided to take a mini-break from freelancing to stick my toes in the corporate America pond once again. I’ve wanted to be a part of corporate communications since I graduated with my Journalism degree many moons ago. My website and freelance business and blog were a strategic part of my exit from an industry that I didn’t enjoy and, quite frankly, wasn’t very good at because I wasn’t using my natural talents and gifts. It wasn’t until 2015 when I “picked myself” that I found some success in pursuing my dreams and now I couldn’t be happier.

I was doing well freelancing with amazing high-paying clients but to be honest, my work/life balance was in the shitter for awhile. That wasn’t fun which made my productivity respond in kind. I missed having a consistent paycheck that didn’t require back to back 12-hour+  workdays. I still take one off projects but it’s a lot more fun now that I get to pick and choose projects that speak to me.

With the advice of my best friend whom I admire and respect, I decided to look for something in corporate communications. I knew I’d have to start over from the bottom which wasn’t a problem for me being the free spirit I am. I was transitioning to a new career and needed to learn best practices in a structured environment.  I took on a part-time role at a large global Fortune 500 technology company to see if communications and marketing were something  I wanted to pursue full-time. I know it sounds crazy but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat to live the life I’ve always dreamt of!

I learned more about email marketing, analytics and SEO in those first few months than I ever would have on my own. Best decision I ever made! I loved it so much that I applied to two top 10 highly ranked competitive graduate schools for a Masters in Strategic Communications and was accepted to both.

I never hated corporate America completely…I just wanted more flexibility and to live life on my terms. My new resume was instrumental in achieving both of those goals. Now that you know what brought me to this point, let’s get to the good stuff.

I used Canva (free) for templates and inspiration. Canva has so many different layouts, elements and options to choose from. It makes it a fun process!

For my most recent resume for grad school, I was inspired by the resume of Marissa Mayer, President of  Yahoo. Her resume is simply amazing! There are so many interesting elements to borrow from including a photo, quote, icons, abstract lines, graphics, strengths and languages.

I’m in the technology space so I liked the lines that were incorporated. It grabs your attention without being too in your face. Surely, you can use one or two of these design elements in your own resume.

Level up your resume
more Tips:
  • Have your resume professionally printed for interviews and face to face meetings as colors vary from printer to printer
  • Compress file size, if emailing large document
  • Hyperlink your website in the resume, if possible
  • Use a professional photo and make it consistent across your social media profiles and website/online portfolio
  • Have someone else proofread for errors and typos
  • Don’t forget to add facts and figures

I hope this gives you some ideas to get the job you deserve in 2017! A fresh new resume will invigorate your job search. Thanks for reading!