WeeklyBite: Where Does Creativity Fit Into Your Self-Promotional Efforts?

Where does creativity fit into your self-promotion - Brooklyn Resume Studio - Career and Job Search Advice

As the saying goes, “Curiosity killed the cat”, and sometimes well-intentioned (but often misplaced) creativity kills the job offer. Sure, there are tons of sites and resources popping up constantly, offering fancy, shiny, new tools for job seekers who want to “think outside the box”. From video resumes, to clever self-promotional tactics, there’s a fine line between being innovative, and simply trying to draw attention to your application.

My husband works for a fairly well-known tech startup in NYC, and a few weeks ago, a candidate sent their resume and job application to said company in the form of a poem and a giant fortune cookie. Clever? Maybe. Effective? Not really. Because if they knew anything about the company they were applying to, they’d know that what they really value are the personal qualities that make someone a well-rounded member of the team – innovation, willingness to take a risk with their work, an active presence in the tech industry, etc. “Being creative” isn’t an excuse for blatent attemps to draw attention to yourself.

Don’t get me wrong – creativity is a highly-coveted attribute that almost any employer values in their team members. If it’s directed appropriately. Want to appeal to employers and stand out from the crowd?

DON’T…

  • Waste your time with a video resume, or other “fad” technology that promises to be “out of the box”.

DO…

  •  Hire a resume writer who knows your industry (or the one you’re trying to break into), what those types of organizations truly value, and how to position your skills to meet those demands.

DON’T…

  • Get overly creative with your resume by providing too much, too little, or inappropriate information in an attempt to be edgy or comical.

DO…

  • Treat your resume as a professional representation of who you are, and what you bring to the table. Does cheesy clip art or unnecessary quotes convey that? Didn’t think so.

DON’T…

  • Send generic form letters that aren’t tailored to the specific organization & role to which you’re applying.

DO…

  • Use a cover letter or intro letter to make a connection between the qualifications (skills, experience) in your resume, and your personal and professional interest in the company at hand. Talk about your interest and involvement in the industry, what you appreciate about the work or projects they do, etc. Make it clear that you did your homework and know what they’re about, and how you fit into that model. Send relevant or interesting case studies or projects you did on your own that might appeal to them as an example of what you can do.

DON’T…

  • Try to be cheeky in your communications. Being overly conversational, informal, telling stories, or being inappropriate in your cover letter, email, or resume isn’t the way to go. You’re not trying to make friends, you’re trying to professionally market yourself to a prospective “customer”.

DO…

  • Same as above – avoid the generic, automated-sounding form letter that doesn’t tell them something interesting about you as an individual, and what makes you a great potential fit with the team and the values of the organization. Talk about relevant blogs or publications you follow, personal projects or volunteer work they might find interesting, or what inspires you about the company’s mission or focus.

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