5 creative CV examples to get noticed by employers
20th Nov 2017
Scrolling through my LinkedIn newsfeed, on a rare occasion I would see someone go beyond the call of duty when applying for jobs. The LinkedIn post would usually contain an exemplary photo of how they have found an innovative way to present their skills to potential employers and a paragraph detailing their determination to land that new career opportunity. I’ve come to wonder if this is due to frustration, desperation or are many applicants not receiving a response from their usual cover letter and CV submission? Are creative CV applications or unique out of the box thinking strategies necessary?
Here are some examples of how candidates, desperate graduates and many other kinds of professionals have used creative methods to present their skills. I’ve found many blog posts containing exceptional people who have created innovative ways to get noticed by employers. Including Adam Pacitti who spent his last £500 on a billboard to find a job. A jobless graduate, Adam, set up a website called employadam.com and directing people to the site with his billboard urging people to help him find a job. Adam reportedly received around 60 interviews from the billboard exposure.
Another well-known example is, Emma Hopkins, who sent multiple self-promotional mailers to the companies she was interested in working with. The package contained badges, proof of her skills and a catalogue featuring her work. Considering Emma has now worked with a wealth of clients including Vans, Cornetto and Pampers. I think her approach has allowed her to demonstrate her skills and has led her to great success in her graphic design career.
Although some approaches like a billboard may seem unconventional, the technical know-how and finding innovative ways to deliver and promote yourself can really make you stand out from the crowd.
What’s better than reading about yourself on paper? Its innovative ways to demonstrate your skills and knowledge to employers.
I’ve gone on a quest to find examples of candidates who have gone the extra mile in Northern Ireland, does it work and are many people doing it? Where are the Northern Irish Job seekers who are using innovative and creative ways to get noticed, it can’t just be an international concept?
It can often be disheartening when you are a fresh graduate or are looking to step up in your career and realise your traditional CV is not enough to get a job!
Previously we’ve received CV’s in excel sheets from accountants to countless Cvs with common spelling errors. Which presents a spectrum of the quality of candidates which apply for jobs. So, here are the candidates I have found in Northern Ireland which I believe have used innovative approaches to get noticed. The following candidates I have found through different means and are all based in Northern Ireland.
Chris experienced IT professional
Chris really impressed me through his design and professional cover letter. It is rare to see a cover letter this well design, laid out and overly polite. Chris has genuinely thought of every detail to offering two copies of his CV in separate formats. This example shows it’s not just graduates using a creative attempt at landing a new job.
Reflections from Chris on taking this approach:
Have you always used a unique cover letter or is this something you have only used recently?
“This is the first time I’ve used this approach. I haven’t searched in earnest for 10 years and thought I had better make an impression. When I have applied for something before I have included a cover letter but of the traditional format and design. I wanted to demonstrate that I do everything to the best of my ability and in a professional manner. I think trying to seek a good role without demonstrating some quality in your approach is a bit optimistic! I wanted to reflect the quality I feel I deliver. Given that not everyone likes a heavily formatted CV or cover letter (or for that matter parser software) I do also have a more traditionally formatted example ready to go.”
Have you found better responses since you have used this approach?
“I have had more interest since using this approach and am currently looking to extend the recipient list further, I figure the more interest (and hopefully therefore options) the better!”
Do you know of many other IT professionals who have gone the extra step beyond submitting their CV?
“I do not know of anyone else who has taken this or for that matter a similar approach. I was actually advised against using anything too creative by a ex-colleague as I am looking for senior management roles but I think that is an old way of approaching IT that doesn’t work today. IT Managers need to be extremely creative to deliver what is now often core to the organisations ability to diversify and succeed – their IT. I think anything that shows you are willing to try a varying approach to a problem and put in the extra effort has to be appreciated by a prospective employer.”
Dean used Google Alerts to tag his website to a well-known location to get noticed by passers-by who are using their phones.
Reflections from Dean on taking this approach:
Can you explain what you did and how you came across this idea?
“I found out about Google Nearby when working on my final year project and the exciting technology behind it. There are lots of Bluetooth beacons around the world, many of which are used for different purposes. While Google allows developers to attach "attachments" to these beacons, any phone with Google Services installed such as Android or most Apple phones will show a silent notification to the user of nearby items of interest. I just simply attached my website acting as my CV as a nearby website to advertise myself to those who are passing through the Europa.”
Do you feel this approach is necessary for the current job market?
“It may be necessary to some degree pathways or job markets, but the IT industry is booming in the UK and Ireland with there being no shortage of jobs for those people with the right skillset. It can always help though to stand out from the crowd!”
Have you received better responses since you used this approach?
“My website does get better responses compared to a few hits per week to over a 100 a week after I set up the notification.”
Do you know of other developers who have gone the extra mile also?
“It's quite common for developers to have websites that showcase their work the same way a photographer or art student should have a portfolio website. Lots of developers do go the extra mile to be recognised for their work and build connections such as running blogs, actively taking part in open-source projects and being socially active on LinkedIn/Twitter.”
Engineering Graduate - Jack
Surprisingly, the creative approach has not been limited to the IT and design sector. Jack hand-made a tractor and trailer to demonstrate his technical knowledge in the engineering industry.
Reflections from Jack on taking this approach:
Can you explain what you did?
“I brought a box with me to my interviews with the model tractor that I handmade along with a tablet containing pictures of various things that I had made that I could use to help sell myself to potential employers.”
Why did you use a tractor?
“I used the tractor to demonstrate previous mechanical experience and hands on approach that I had.”
Do you think this benefited you more than the traditional approach?
“I have done this for both interviews I attended and I do believe that it helped secure me the job that I got, as my boss has mentioned it on numerous occasions since then.”
Do you know other engineering professionals use this approach?
“There are a few others who I have heard have done similar, by bringing examples of their work to an interview to prove work that they have carried out.”
Reviewing these different approaches from IT professionals to engineers, it still seems important to make yourself stand out from the crowd of job seekers. It's even viewed as valuable for when you accept a job offer, your manager or boss who interviewed you will always remember the extra mile you took.
One observation which surprised me, I could not find any women in Northern Ireland who have taken this innovative approach – we would love to hear from you if you have a creative CV and what the outcomes were from submitting it for a particular position, or just to showcase your talents to prospective employers.
Have you or know someone who has used a creative approach when applying for a job and would like to be featured in this blog? Why not email me Alex (hi!) on firstname.lastname@example.org