Taking Risks in Your Resume

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RiskWhen Columbus set sail in search of the new world, he and his crew didn’t know what they would find. Like today’s modern job hunter, these explorers set out in search of fabulous riches (or, you know, employment) with only a bold hope that they might one day return home victorious.

In order to find work in these treacherous waters (in other words, in this economy), sometimes you have to take risks. Here are some risks worth taking on your resume.

Infographic Resume

One way to stand out from the crowd is to create an infographic-style resume. Infographics are eye-catching compositions of text and images that often include bright colors and geometric shapes. They turn information into bite-sized, easy-to-scan elements—which is exactly what you want when hooking the interest of a harried human resources manager.

Job-hunting expert Pamela Skillings praises infographic resumes. “People love infographics because our brains are wired to respond to visual storytelling. Images grab our attention.” If graphic design isn’t part of your skill set, you can hire a freelancer to create a visual resume for you or use a program like Visualize.Me or Visual.ly.

Video Resume

Video resumes are a bold choice for job seekers, especially those with a winning personality. To make the most of your video resume, make sure to use a decent camera, good lighting (daylight is better than your desk lamp), and make sure that everything in the frame is clean and professional looking. That means picking up any stray socks or dirty dishes in the room as well as dressing up as if you were going to an interview. Use video editing software to create a high-quality reel; after all, a poorly produced video resume isn’t going to impress anyone.

According to Erin Carson from TechRepublic, video resumes aren’t for everyone. Carson advises that “using a video resume to get a job in a more creative field like marketing, might be more effective. Ask yourself if the company you’re applying to has the type of culture that would welcome a video more than a regular resume.”

Mixed Media Resume

There are hundreds of creative ways to make your resume stand out, from wrapping it around a chocolate bar, creating a storybook, or even embroidering your accomplishments on fabric. If you’re going to go the mixed media route, make sure that it reflects your talents and skills. An insurance actuary, for example, probably wouldn’t get much mileage out of a resume designed to look like a movie poster, but someone looking to break into the film industry might.

Of course, you want to avoid standing out in a bad way. Grammatical mistakes — careless misspellings, misplaced commas, and a host of other easy-to-make errors — can negatively impact your chances of getting that interview. No matter what medium you decide to use to present your resume, make sure that you proofread thoroughly. Don’t rely on your word processing program’s spell check; get a trusted friend to look over your resume, and run the text through Grammarly’s automated proofreading tool.

What’s the craziest risk you’ve taken to land your dream job? Share your story in the comments!

By Allison VanNest