Tuesday, April 30, 2013


When you think of the corporate world, you think of a structured, disciplined and formal environment where doing off-the-wall things is likely to be frowned upon. Procedures are rigid, and documents – including resumes – have to follow a strict format.

But there are certain industries that actually encourage more creativity and departure from norms. Advertising agencies, graphic design studios, bars and restaurants, fashion stores, photography studios, music studios, event management outfits and special interest publications come to mind. If you’re looking to fill up any of the job vacancies in Singapore in any of these more creative industries, you can make an impactful impression with an unconventional resume.

If you’re still in college, and you want to apply for any of the part time jobs for students, this is actually a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles and show some youthful flair for the unexpected.

Of course, the mandatories – name, educational attainment, position desired, etc – should all still be there. It’s just a matter of presenting these in a more interesting way.

A flat envelope is just another letter in the pile on a manager’s desk. Send him a package, and you’re more likely to get noticed.

The CD
One of the most popular 3D resume ideas in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the CD in its case. You can push the idea further by ditching the traditional CD case for a more elegant packaging. Place your name on the front sleeve, and all your biodata on the inside sheet that would comprise the liner notes of a regular CD.

This approach is excellent for those eyeing a job in the music industry, photography, or event management. A word of caution: make sure all the printed material can stand on its own. Don’t assume that the manager will have time to check the contents of the CD.

The T-Shirt
If you or someone you know has the hardware to print on cloth, go ahead and place your resume on a T-shirt or a tank top. Place your headline on the front part of the shirt and the details on the back side.

The sample above is actually quite minimalist. You can play with colors, add boxes, and even emblazon an image of your face on the front side. This resume idea works perfectly for those looking to work in the fashion industry.

The Object Montage
There are visual montages, and there are montages made of objects stuck to a board. Arrange these well, and you have a striking resume that will surely get noticed.

This sample has a coffee cup, a receipt, and a napkin, all neatly stuck to a wooden board. The details are printed on the objects, art directed for easy reading. The choice of the coffee theme was well thought out: creative people need their caffeine fix to get their juices flowing. Take this type of approach if you’re into graphic design.

A resume printed on paper material can still be interesting, if you know how to dress it up properly.

The Brochure
Think of yourself as the product you’re marketing, and make your resume speak to employers in brochure format. Go folder-type, accordion, or even magazine style. Feel free to add graphics and photos to break up the monotony of continuous text. If you’re applying for a job as a photographer, place samples of your best work in the layout.

You can also adapt the brochure look to a menu-style resume, ideal for applying for a job in the restaurant business.

The Interactive Piece
Give the manager something to play with, and he’ll remember you. He may not have time to actually go through the interactive process, but if your piece has said all you need to say and has grabbed his attention, it’s done its job.

Note that the cut-out box sample above employs only one-side printing, so that once it’s cut and folded into a box, all the printed sides are still visible. If you try this approach (which would be ideal for just about any of the earlier-mentioned creative industries), be sure to print this on heavy gauge paper.

This pantone strips resume is a little less interactive, but no less impactful. The resume details are naturally broken up because they’re printed on the individual strips. This gives the manager the chance to go over these one by one. This type of approach works especially well for those in the graphic design and advertising industries.

The One-Page Wonder
A blend of the traditional and the offbeat, these resumes still stand out for their art directed content, with their liberal use of graphics, fancy fonts, and attractive colors.

The above resume is a perfect example of what we call organized clutter. Elements are strewn together with wild abandon, yet the viewer doesn’t get lost in the montage of images. This was created by an advertising copywriter. It was meant to represent the typical writer’s worktable. Cluttered, but chock-full of creative ideas.

The appeal of the second sample lies in the fact that it looks like an oversized business card, with the added element of a cartoon version of the creator. It’s not particularly colorful, but that in fact works to its advantage. It’s neat, and easy to read.

The above one-page wonders can also work as online materials, as long as the page allows uploading of your layouts. This is not a problem if you want to post your resume on a social networking site. Certain job sites, though, give you a template and only certain fonts and colors to work with. Don’t let these limitations deter you. Take on the creative challenge. Make full use of your limited resources. Check these samples.

Note how this sample has no images, just a lot of text. But it’s certainly not boring to look at, because of the skillful use of boxes to organize the elements, with emphasis on testimonials. Colors are also well utilized, with enough variety for visual appeal, but not too much as to make the layout look busy. 

This sample is impressive in its monochrome approach, using only various shades of grayish turquoise. The result is a layout that’s pleasing to the eye. Graphic images are minimal, and the elements flow smoothly because they’re neatly boxed.

These are just a few examples of how you can go off-the-wall with your resume designs. There are numerous other approaches you can try, like a scroll parchment, a Rubik’s cube, a deck of cards, a flip chart, and so much more. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Go ahead, experiment, explore and most of all, express yourself.

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