Often times we take the status quo to be the standard of our actions. Fearing the consequences, we stick to this belief. But going against what’s standard can provide us with unbelievable results.
I believe paper resumes are one of those actions that we accept as the standard. The average recruiter spends just six seconds browsing each resume. Clearly, there’s an opportunity to change this standard action.
And that’s exactly what I wanted to test when I put my resume on a billboard.
Recently, I left my Director of Marketing role at Redox. Meaning, I quickly found myself back in the cutthroat world of applying for jobs. After playing the old games for a week – where you tailor your resume for each application – I realized that no matter what I wrote down it could never encapsulate my value as a marketer.
Marketing is about refreshing campaign ideas and execution. A great marketer is only as good as their next campaign idea, so why not give companies a little taste of my ideas?
As Bonnie Raitt once sang, “Let’s give them something to talk about.” And that’s exactly what I did when I plastered my face on a fifty-foot billboard in New York City. In a way, it was like sending my resume to companies in the style of Batman’s bat signal.
Although in an age of Facebook Advertising billboards may be seen as an advertising afterthought. To me, it was a worthwhile investment.
And I didn’t want just any cut-rate billboard on the side of the highway. I wanted exposure and attention. So, I found a place where attention is plentiful in NYC… right above the latest Banksy street mural.
If you aren’t familiar, Banksy is one of the world’s foremost street artists that uses his minimalist style to send clear cultural messages. He’s famously known for being the type of artist that “goes against the grain”, which was exactly the narrative my billboard resume tells.
Nestled right above that Banksy original artwork is an original QuHarrison marketing campaign, which is already paying returns.
However, the goal was greater than landing marketing gigs. I wanted to showcase that paper resumes are going defunct and that there’s a better way to fight for the profession you desire.
The End of Paper Resumes
Paper resumes were a great tool for the paper era. When fax machines were ringing all day long and memos were printed on paper.
But, we’re now in a paperless era. Where the majority of our work will never be printed in ink. Our professions require us to be digital creators 95% of the day. So why are we still using a paper document to show how we’ll fit these roles?
The coming decades will require a new form of resume. Thus, challenging us to find ways to convey our strengths.
If you’re applying for a social media marketer position, then your resume should be a link to a social media account that you’ve fostered around a specific niche – showing the different growth tactics you use.
If you’re applying for a finance position, then go learn how to create data visualizations that surpass anything you’ll find on PowerPoint and put together a visual data presentation of a portfolio you’ve grown on your own (even if it’s worth just a couple hundred dollars).
Better yet, do what I did and buy a bunch of Facebook Ads (instead of billboards) to promote yourself. You can target specific groups within a company and send your face right to their feed.
There are a plethora of ways to do something remarkable that makes you just a little bit different than all the other job candidates. And if the job market really is getting more competitive, then this is the kind of thing that professionals must take to heart.
Perhaps you’ve solidified your job and haven’t touched your resume in years. Which is why the real lesson here is to simply look at things differently and question how they can be done in a unique, refreshing fashion.
Steve Jobs famously launched Apple’s “Think Different” campaign and solidified the slogans place in every innovator’s mind. He reminded the world of the abundant value in the kids that doodle in the back of the class, teens that question cultural norms, and tinkerers that can’t help but tinker.
Those two words still resonate with every person trying to make a change. But, I believe it’s only half of the equation.
The second half is to Act Different.
It’s not enough to simply have different, wandering thoughts than others. Making your actions slightly different will lead you to look at the world differently, view problems differently, and find solutions differently.
Next time you’re walking up the stairs, walk up backward. Not only will you get a smirk from a random passerby, but it might spur you to think about a problem you’re having in a new way. Maybe it won’t.
Next time you’re eating a meal, try switching your knife and fork hands. Try buying a newspaper for old times sake to see how the news cycles differ from the smartphone-driven news.
Every day you take hundreds of actions that are all identical to everyone else’s. You’ll find that there’s something refreshing in acting peculiar – against our common cultural programming.