Job-Search Critique: Unusual Resume Tactics

Hagan Blount, a job-seeking social-media strategist, recently altered us to his “Will Tweet for Food” campaign and online resume. We thought this would be an interesting opportunity to offer an honest critique of an unusual resume tactic — and invite our readers to share their thoughts about what they think works, and doesn’t work, about this campaign.

First, here’s what I think works:

1. A creative approach is good, and this resume is very appealing to the eye — the layout is attention-getting, and I can imagine that a recruiter or hiring manager flipping through dozens of resumes would stop at this one for a second look.

2. I think a dedicated website with a custom domain name is a must for job seekers in this field or related fields. (I might suggest, though, something that is more frequently updated–and not just with a Twitter stream.)

3. Infographics are a great idea — potentially, they can quickly transmit important information. Unfortunately, I think the infographics in this resume don’t quite live up to their potential (more on that later on).

4. I like the prominent use of numbers to tell specific success stories and achievements. This is a very effective resume tactic.

5. Testimonials from past clients or past employers make great sound bites (or “thought bites”). Relative to the other information presented here, I would say that Blount’s could be even more prominent.

Now, here a few areas where I think there’s room for improvement:

1. The infographics, although they look clever, don’t transmit information well. The map shows where Blount has lived (not helpful information for an employer — and perhaps a negative, as so many addresses might make a candidate look unstable). And the Skill Development infographic isn’t truly measuring anything. It looks good, but viewing a chart like that and realizing there was no real measurement there was slightly disappointing for me.

2. As I said, numbers are great on a resume, and here they are featured prominently. My favorite number is the number of Twitter followers gained — that’s a concrete number that a hiring manager can desire for his or her company’s brand. But the other numbers aren’t as effective, in that they don’t describe results. Instead of “number of words,” for instance, I might talk about traffic gains I had earned. (And “110%” is hyperbole that good writers ought to avoid.)

3. The top of the resume seems poorly used: A person can read the “Brief History” and the “Mission Statement” and not have a clear idea of what Blount wants to do (or can do). I would advice Blount to avoid weak verbs (like “assist”) and to cut the self-deprecating comedy by more than 50 percent. As it is, the history might come across as a series of false starts. (I understand that he’s intending to be funny, but I’m not sure he comes across as comical and as an amazing employee.)

To revise this section, I might make add a couple of my major career achievements to the timeline (in place of, for example, a story of an ill-fated romance).

4. “Funny” is good. “Snarky” is good. But humor shouldn’t come at the expense of showing what a great employee you’ve been. When choosing between a chance for a laugh or a chance to impress the hiring manager, I’d say you should choose the latter. Remember that hiring decisions aren’t made by one person — the person who “gets” your humor and wants to hire you may have to have your hire approved by completely snark-immune folks in corner offices.

5. Finally, an effective job search is targeted: I would recommend that Blount seek out the opportunities he wants and the companies he wants to work for, and customize individual campaigns — rather than simply being an impossible-to-find needle in a haystack. (Wearing a sign in Times Square is attention-getting — but the chances of it getting the right person’s attention are incredibly slim. And social media can help you get the right person’s attention.) If Blount used his obvious skill in creating a resume that spoke directly to my company’s needs, I’m sure I’d be wowed.

This graphic resume isn’t searchable, and that may be a problem (I checked the page’s source, and didn’t see the important keywords that I would recommend on a social media superstar’s resume page). Search is the new killer app; employers have to be able to find you online (and, of course, on

Should You Try a Tactic Like This?
When someone gets a job by wearing a sandwich board in Times Square, it makes the news. But I think it’s newsworthy because it’s rare. So there’s a risk in resorting to tactics like this while neglecting the traditional tactics that get people hired every day.

When my colleagues and I were discussing this blog post, we talked about the fact that perhaps we’d be proving that these offbeat campaigns do work — this one got our attention, after all.

Well, nothing would please me more than if our resume critique got Mr. Blount a great job!

But more to the point, this resume provides some interesting discussion points that might benefit him and all job seekers. I wish Blount luck in his job search, and I invite all of you to share your comments in the Comments field.


Link to original postOriginally published on MonsterThinking

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