The days of using a generic resume template from Microsoft Word are becoming a thing of the past with the increase of creativity floating around cyberspace. Many employers are now looking for a URL to an online portfolio or even your Twitter handle to get a better sense of who you are.
So how can you fully reflect yourself and everything you have to offer on an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper? That’s where your creativity kicks in. And with so many different tools out there, it’s easy to get started.
Indiana University student Lauren Jerdonek saw this as an opportunity and jumped on the chance to help others create resumes that would help them stand out from the crowd. She launched Précis Resumes as a resource for young professionals to get their feet in the door with a resume that would catch any employers’ eye.
CreativeInterns: What made you want to start your own resume writing business?
Lauren Jerdonek: I was so frustrated when I was applying to jobs in New York City. I was sending my resume to hundreds of employers and not hearing back from anyone. I knew that I was well-qualified for the positions and I was sure that if I could personally hand them my resume they would be able see that. I knew that wasn’t possible so I decided to create a resume that was mature, but was also infused with my personality. I re-sent my resume and heard back from dozens of the same employers that had previously ignored it within hours. I knew I was onto something.
CI: Why do you think it’s important to break the traditional resume format?
LJ: Sending out your resume is essentially the first interview — you’re just at a disadvantage because you’re not there to defend yourself. I think it’s important to have your resume reflect your professional personality 100%. Whether or not that reflection is traditional or not is up to you.
CI: What is the best way for students to get noticed in this creative industry?
LJ: Create your own opportunities. So many students come to me and want to know how to even get content for their resume on top of an internship and the answer is to create opportunities for yourself. Always put that 120% effort in your classes, not for your grades sake but for your portfolio’s sake. Team up with friends or local businesses who have different talents but the same ambitions and create something to show of it—a photo shoot, a campaign, website. Exchanging your talents for one another’s benefit is a free yet amazing resource. When you have experience to show your future employer, and that experience is self-made, it shows your ambition. Plus, you can talk about your trials and errors as a leader which is something every boss wants to hear of their new hire. Don’t go the extra mile, go the extra ten miles.
CI: Has your revamped resume led to any cool opportunities?
LJ: Having a show-stopping resume got me in the door to a lot of amazing brands and companies. Being able to sit in a room with some of my industry idols were surreal moments for me.
CI: When you’re designing a resume, what’s the process like?
LJ: Before I do anything, I like to have Google+ Hang Out with my client. I like to see them & get a feel for their personality before I begin to craft something that’s supposed to represent them. I ask them about their ambitions, where they see themselves in ten years and silly questions, too. Immediately after that, I put together an inspiration board with colors, images and fonts that serve as a baseboard for that particular piece. I get a draft ready and my client and I work on fine-tuning it to their satisfaction.
CI: What tips do you have for college students when writing their own resumes?
LJ: Choose your words wisely. Avoid the dull trigger words like “organized,” “responsible” and “assisted.” Scouts read those words six-hundred times a day and phrases with those words in them make you seem boring and robotic…you’re not! You don’t need to make it obvious that you used the Online Thesaurus, but try to incorporate impact words like “accelerated,” “created” and “orchestrated.” It’s amazing how powerful your positions can sound by just choosing better action words. Another tip is that some things are better left off your resume. When you craft a resume you want to appear as the perfect candidate—don’t put work or jobs down that make you appear less than what you are in that moment of time. If you’re in college, leave all high school experience off your resume. If you have three similar internships under your belt, pick and choose different aspects of each you felt you were strong at doing rather than being redundant in your descriptions. It’s important to remain concise in conveying your work. The third tip is to be honest! Transparency is the key to building to a good relationship with your employer and if you’re unable to live up to your initial words it looks poorly on you, your boss, the department and the company…your contribution isn’t the ant you think it is! Aspiring employees put too much value on what they aren’t and less on what they are. Be different in saying “Hey, I know this area isn’t my strong point, but I can do THIS area better than anyone you’ve met and I’ll work day-and-night until my weak areas improve.” Be eager, keep your head down but be the hardest working employee or intern in the whole building.
She’s living proof that putting the time and effort into making a stellar resume can get you one step closer to your dream career. She’s a budding entrepreneur working with different fashion brands on projects in New York City this summer. Need resume-building inspiration? Check out Precis Resume at www.precisresumes.com.