Yesterday I was having a discussion with my cousin Adam about resumes. Adam is finishing up college and starting to look for employment amongst thousands of other eager students.
It was interesting because he was explaining all the ways a resume is required to be written and prepared, according to his college. (Much hasn’t changed since the last time I wrote a resume).
It made me think of something Mitch Joel said about the resume at last weeks Art of Marketing Conference in Toronto.
Mitch said, and I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember exactly, “The resume is dead, your new resume is what the first page of Google says about you.” It’s interesting and I believe that’s where we’re heading, but it’s not entirely accurate yet. There are many companies living in the pre-2004 era that still require the traditional boring resume.
Back to Adam.
Adam’s resume will be blasted to every business and, possibly, every opportunity he sees. Think about that and think about the last time you applied for a job. Did you do the same thing? I know I did. So what does that mean for our resumes? In one sense, our resumes have become a simple form of tangible spam. You’re spamming companies and hoping someone bites. Is that any different from the Nigerian prince who just died and left you $500,000,000 in cash? Not really.
In once sense, we gotta give the email scammers credit. At least their stories are getting better every year.
So if hundreds of people are spamming for the same position, and everyone is writing a resume, as it’s supposed to be written, we’re stuck competing against against each other and a big pile of stinky spam.
Which brings me back to the ‘good ole Purple Cow.’
If I had to write a resume again, I think I’d print it on purple construction paper with white polka dots. Or maybe I’d print it on a giant piece of Bristol board. Or maybe I’d create a video.
I’m not sure.
But if I was an employer and I just received 100 pieces of white 8.5 x 11 paper, all printed the same required way, all properly groomed and filled with the same exaggerated hyperbole, I know which one I’d grab first; the purple one, of course.
Adam wants to be police officer. My suggestion to Adam was that he create a fun video of himself on a stake out. He could be eating burgers, drinking a chocolate milkshake and having a discussion about his prior experiences. Maybe he could cut to some mock arrests where he shows his knowledge of the criminal code. Maybe he could show off his physical training and conduct a few take-downs. He could even include interviews with his references.
I’d not only watch it, and probably post it on YouTube, but I’d also hire Adam.
Of course it would need to be done right…. Dragnet style.
Adam responded and said he thought it was a cool idea, but he wanted to see someone else do it first. He wants to see if it works before he takes that risk.
Ahh, of course we want to see it done first, but then it’s not cool anymore. Then it’s not original anymore. Then it’s not a risky anymore. Then it’s nothing more than just a new kind of white paper.
Therefore, Adam decided the safe bet is the white piece of paper that’s identical to the thousands of other white pieces of paper.
The point isn’t really about creating a purple resume. The point is creating a resume that shows how remarkable you are.
Everyone else’s resumes are filled with the same impeccable education and life experience B.S. Everyone’s resume has the most amazing set of references. If everyone’s the same, then chances are, there is someone with a better education, better experiences, and better references then you.
What makes you different?