catches employers eye
Goodson is a junior news-editorial journalism major
frigid winter months have passed and spring is finally
here. For seniors, however, graduation is approaching,
and its time to brush up that resume, dust off those
business suits and prepare for The Great Job Hunt.
Programs like Junior Jumpstart and Senior Seminar are
designed to help prepare college students for job-hunting
after graduation. I recently attended Junior Jumpstart,
where the agenda included seminars on the rules of résumé
writing, interviewing, internship searching and networking,
as well as lunch with professionals from a variety of
However, as we boarded the bus back to TCU after six hours
of being inundated with advice on the right
way to write a résumé (chronological or
functional format) and dress for an interview (conservatively
with dark colors), I could not help asking myself what
we all look like from the employers side. If thousands
of college graduates across the country are following
these same rules, as a collective we must
appear to be some drone army of job-seekers, offering
the same résumés and many of the same answers
in interviews. I wondered if those who interview candidates
ever get tired of seeing the same type of potential employee
parade through what must seem a revolving door of business
suits and skirts.
Granted, many jobs in todays job market do not require
formal business dress every day of the week, especially
those in the more flexible fields of medicine, social
work and the fine arts. Nevertheless, to get these jobs,
candidates will have to endure the same application and
review process as students entering the more business-oriented
fields of advertising, finance and education.
I have often wondered why the job-search process has become
so rigid that it allows little to no room for creativity.
Is it really so wrong to have a résumé that
is different, or to wear something more chic than a business
suit? Bradley Richardson, author of Jobsmarts for
Twentysomethings, writes that, Being creative
and off the wall takes guts and a special personality,
but often that may be exactly what is needed to push you
over the top, and ahead of the competition.
As an example, Richardson cites the story of a woman applying
for a marketing position with a vineyard. The woman created
her résumé on a wine label, placed it on
a bottle, and sent it to the company. Another young woman,
a recent college graduate, knew her interviewers were
concerned about her lack of experience. After her interview,
she sent the companys executives a Kermit the frog
doll with a note reading, Im green, but Im
good. Cheesy? Yes. However, these stories are examples
of applicants who took a more daring, creative route and
benefited from the decision.
Now, I am not saying everyone should send stuffed animals
or alcohol to potential employees, and certainly the way
you choose to express your creativity should fit the job
you are applying for. However, the idea that using your
imagination in the process of job hunting is a disadvantage
is wrong. Candidates who use subtle creativity to market
themselves may, in fact, put themselves ahead of the competition,
simply because their resume may stand out from other standard,
formatted, black-and-white resumes in the stack.
To put this differently, imagine going to the movie theater
to catch a flick. Only, when you arrive, all the movies
are the same. Perhaps they have different actors, but
the script, plot and settings are exactly alike. Those
movies would start to look pretty bland after awhile.
Now, imagine the movie on the last screen comes with 3-D
glasses. This movie, though it contains the same story
as the other movies, is now more interesting because its
just a bit different. This same concept can be applied
to job hunting.
To all the seniors, and anyone beginning the job hunt,
have the gumption to try something different this time.
Remember, if it does not work, its not the end of
the world, and you can always visit Career Services to
pick up a packet on writing a traditional résumé