Once a week on Mashable, Tech Crunch or Huffington Post I read about someone’s creative promotional approach to marketing themselves as a job seeker.
Whether it’s a funky infographic resume, a physical promotional package, or an innovative digital portfolio, many of them are legitimately cool and sometimes successful (like this one).
Other, however, more closely resemble reincarnations of someone else’s work. Which by default makes it not very creative. Such is the case with the recycled tactic of adopting popular web interfaces as the framework for your resume, such as Google, EBay, Craigslist, and others.
If you do want to go more creative and/or non-traditional in your job search marketing strategy, here are 3 things to keep in mind:
Provide a Clear Demonstration of Your Skill Set
In all cases, your creative approach should not be perceived as a gimmicky promotion, but more like a demonstration of your skill set displayed with ingenuity.
People screw up the whole creative marketing thing because often they’re creating nothing more than a temporary diversion. They fail to create a lasting impression that positions your brand effectively to potential employers.
The “wow factor” might draw them in initially, but is it memorable, or simply distracting?
Good marketing isn’t just about attention – it’s about connection and engagement. You can’t expect someone to entrust you with representing the brand reputation of their organization if you don’t paint your own brand in a credible, professional, unique light.
Think About What Really Matters to the Company
Your resume stuffed inside a giant fortune cookie might be an attention-grabber, but what does that have to do with the fact that you’re appealing to a rapidly growing gaming company?
There needs to be a connection between your promotional approach, and the message you’re trying to send about yourself as a candidate.
Creativity done right communicates a strong component of relevance.
A former recruiting colleague of mine once solicited a major advertising agency who had recently won a major beer account. She wanted to earn their business by showing the type of high-caliber creative talent we represented, but wanted to avoid the old tactic of blindly sending resumes. So she showed up at their office with a case of their new client’s beer, and inside each of the [empty] bottles, was the resume of candidate who reflected the skill sets they’d likely need in staffing up a new team to work on the new account.
That is relevant creativity. And it worked.
Keep Your Focus on the End Goal of the Project
When asked what the end goal of their creative resume or job search campaign is, most would say, “Well, I want them to call me in for an interview”.
But think about the process from getting from A to B – from your initial concept, to securing the meeting. What has to happen in between? Perhaps the goal is get their attention and set the stage for when you follow up by phone 3 days later. Or, perhaps it’s to get the attention of the hiring decision maker, instead of submitting your application through a generic jobs@CompanyX.com HR inbox.
You must narrow down who your audience is, how to get their attention, and how to send a message that carries real value to them.
Especially for job seekers, personal marketing must have a purpose, an intended end goal and a specific audience. In all those ways, personal marketing is just like every other form of marketing, even for the world’s most respected brands.
Keeping these tips in mind, and make sure your creative job search campaign remains relevant and focused. Otherwise, it’s just another gimmick.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, and more recently, Brooklyn Resume Studio. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!