April 24, 2024


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Ditch The Boring Resume When Changing Careers. Focus On Creativity

4 min read
Ditch The Boring Resume When Changing Careers. Focus On Creativity

The traditional resume has begun to show limitations, particularly for professionals looking to pivot into entirely new career paths. The conventional format, often limited to bullet points of past job experiences and skills, falls short of painting a comprehensive picture of a candidate’s potential and adaptability. With the job market’s dynamics rapidly evolving and the rise of digital portfolios, personal websites and professional networks, there’s a growing consensus that these tools offer a more nuanced and vivid portrayal of an individual’s capabilities and aspirations.

It’s time to think outside the box past the Microsoft Word document and tap into creativity. Successfully pivoting in your career requires risks. Start being bold by ditching the resume.

In a society where 30% of the population is seeking employment or a new position, 75% of resumes will never be seen by human eyes; they get filtered by an applicant tracking system (ATS). Additionally, 99% of organizations use a form of ATS, and on average, positions receive 250 applications. Out of the 250 resumes, only 4-6 people will receive an in-person interview invitation.

Why the Resume Is Losing Ground

The essence of a career change lies not in where you’ve been but where you’re aiming to go. Traditional resumes anchor a candidate’s profile in their past, not their potential future. This is where alternative forms of showcasing professional prowess come into play.

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Discerning a candidate’s true potential and ensuring they will excel in a role is a challenge for hiring managers who rely solely on traditional resumes. Consequently, some organizations have started to eliminate the resume requirement from their application process, with the rationale that resumes can become obsolete and may inadvertently introduce bias during hiring.

A key aspect for companies to stop relying on resumes involves eliminating AI and algorithms that screen out candidates in initial recruitment phases. In December 2020, the Business Roundtable unveiled the Multiple Pathways Initiative with support from more than 80 member companies like General Motors, Bank of America and Walmart. This initiative seeks to revamp the hiring process to enhance the recruitment of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.

The challenge lies in bridging the perceived gap between past experiences and future aspirations. It’s about storytelling and creating a cohesive narrative that stitches together the seemingly disparate threads of their professional life. This narrative approach provides context and insight that a list of job titles and responsibilities lacks. Most importantly, it allows candidates to showcase what they’ve done, who they are as professionals and where they wish to make an impact.

Emerging Alternatives For Career Changers:

Digital Portfolios

Digital portfolios are an example that allows for a tangible demonstration of skills, be it through design work, writing samples or successful projects. Personal websites provide a platform for individuals to narrate their professional journeys, highlighting their motivations for changing careers, the steps they’re taking to bridge knowledge gaps, and how their unique blend of experiences makes them an asset in their new field.

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Video Resumes

Video resumes or profiles present a unique opportunity for candidates to inject personality into their application. This format is compelling for roles that demand strong communication skills or a flair for creativity.

Live-action submissions allow for the following:

  • Personality assessment: Video resumes enable recruiters to gauge a candidate’s demeanor, presentation skills and overall cultural fit within the organization.
  • Differentiation: By showcasing their personalities and expertise through a visual and auditory medium, applicants create a more personalized and memorable impression on hiring managers. This dynamic form of presentation highlights the candidate’s qualifications and demonstrates their ability to utilize modern technology effectively, adding an extra layer of appeal to their application.
  • Storytelling: Video format facilitates storytelling, enabling candidates to narrate their career journey, motivations and aspirations compellingly, helping recruiters connect with candidates on a personal level.

Professional Narratives

Career-change platforms encourage individuals to share their professional journeys, emphasizing the story behind their career pivot. These narratives allow candidates to highlight their adaptability, resilience and diverse skill set.

Platforms like Career Shifters and Career Confidence help people pivoting in their careers find resources and a community to assist them. The Career Shifters platform provides a supportive community while changing jobs, while Career Confidence is a nonprofit organization that helps career switchers streamline their job search. With a nationwide network, this platform offers free webinars hosted on Meetup and other resources to help job seekers improve their skills.

Ultimate Resume Creativity

Over a decade ago, the internet couldn’t stop talking when Robby Leonardi created a video game prototype of his resume to display his creativity and programming skills for hiring managers. He turned his boring web design resume into an interactive experience.

Another job seeker dressed up as Batman and hand-delivered his resume, while another candidate hired a skywriter to attract the hiring manager’s attention. Other examples of the great lengths people have gone to to land a new role include:

  • Sending food.
  • Hiring a mariachi band.
  • Ordering a singing telegram.
  • Creating Google ads.
  • Writing a song about the company. Then uploading it to YouTube.
  • Bidding on an internship for a company during a silent auction.
  • Buying advertising space on a billboard.

For those navigating career changes, shifting from traditional resumes towards more comprehensive and personalized representations of professional identity offers a promising path. By embracing these emerging alternatives, career changers can more effectively showcase their unique value to potential employers, opening the door to new opportunities.


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