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September 04, 2012

Standing Out (In a Good Way)

September 04, 2012

Resume with text: HIRE ME! I AM THE COOLEST!

A good job is hard to come by. You already know this because you've heard it in the news, you've heard it from your friends and family - maybe you've even experienced some hardship yourself. I know that I have. Before coming to SmallBox I spent well over a year applying, going to interviews, and getting by working part-time and freelance jobs.

When I first saw that Jeb was looking for a personal assistant I knew that I would need to do something out of the ordinary just to get my foot in the door. I already had a solid resume but I knew that a cover letter, no matter how great, (for the record, I have MAD cover letter skills) just wouldn't be enough.

So I didn't write one - I looked to Tumblr instead.

Within 15 minutes of seeing Jeb's tweet seeking a personal assistant I had created a coverblog showcasing my experience and my involvement in the community. I used irreverent language, said things that most people would never say in the interview process, and included links to my Soundcloud page, I linked to a short film I had done the score for, and I sold myself like a madman. You can check it out here: http://checkoutkb.tumblr.com/ Pretty simple, right?

Not entirely. You have to know your audience or else you run the risk of sticking out for the wrong reasons. Here are a couple of tips for standing out:

  • Preparation is key. Do your research - check out their presence online (company site, blogs, etc.) and get to know the company and their culture. If you have the skill to back it up, and you think you can get away with eschewing a cover letting in favor of a video, blog, web page, skywriter, or blimp then go for it!

  • Avoid traditional communication channels. E-mail is a necessary evil in the business world, and most people have more than enough already. Companies are now using social media to reach out to qualified job candidates (for example, I found out about this position on Twitter) but this street goes both ways.

  • Accentuate the positive, but don't eliminate the negative. Honesty is great, but no employer is going to be impressed when you spend the entirety of your interview listing your shortcomings and complaints about your previous jobs. Stick to selling them on your strengths, but always respond truthfully to any inquiries about any issues you have had in the past because any manager worth their salt will be able to verify your responses with just a few calls.

  • Demonstrate your value up front. Showing examples of your previous work only lets employers know about projects you have done in the past - so give them something new. Write a blog post in their style, let them know about a few of your ideas for the position - you can even let them in on a hobby of yours if you think it could showcase a talent or skill they can use.

  • Give them something to remember you by. If you must go the traditional cover letter/resume route, at least make it something worth looking at. Avoid using cover letter templates in favor of new content that shows your personality - if you can think of a story from your past that relates to the position, or a specific, unique insight, share it.


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