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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Aug 29, 2012

Standing Out In a Crowd…

…is More Important Than Ever.

My company is in the process of hiring a Copywriter / Editor to join our communications team. We posted the position a few weeks ago and we’ve gotten nearly 200 responses. Here’s a quick breakdown of what that means to a jobseeker in this market.

Of the 200 respondents:
  • a large percentage of the applicants are based outside of this state, and a smaller, but significant number of these are based outside of the United states, 
  • approximately 40 individuals meet the criteria outlined in the job posting, 
  • about half of this qualified group can be classified as highly qualified, 
  • fewer than 10 people will be contacted to interview. 
This is the trend that I outlined in my article Job Search Advice for New Grads. It’s now the norm.

My Communications Director was floored at the number of applications that this posting has yielded compared to years past. Not only are the applicants more diverse, so are their skill levels—there’s been an abnormally high number of recent college graduates who’ve applied. Recently, when discussing her selection process she commented that, “You can see the effects of the economy, now more than ever.”

When we posted a similar position a few years ago, the maximum number of resumes was around 40 and the highly qualified pool held 5 individuals. How do you ensure your application will yield an interview? Be prepared to compete with highly skilled individuals.

Keep Your Resume in the Call-Back Pile
In order to stand out from the crowd of applicants you MUST ADDRESS ALL of the job requirements in the posting. Don’t leave it to the department head to infer what you mean. If they ask for app development then you’d better say app development in your resume and/or cover letter.

Present an Appropriate Identity 
When updating your resume for a job, consider your audience. Is the industry a creative one? Is it receptive to out-of-the-box design concepts? Is it conservative or built on tested ideals? Will your design, paper size, typography, or color palette cause your application to be discarded?

I recently spied an applicant’s highly stylized resume that was bold, bright, boisterous, and inappropriate for this job posting. An effective resume not only addresses all of the listed requirements, it is also designed for the audience. This graphic designer resume would be well-received at a creative firm but it doesn’t fit the bill at a human services nonprofit organization. It’s also inappropriate for a Copywriter / Editor position; a job in which the main goal is clarity of message.


Don Clark said...

As competitive as most industries are, but especially Publishing and Design, your resume has to conform to each position you apply for, on this we agree. The length of the resume, and whether to use the limited space to tell your "story" are my biggest concerns. I've been told that more than a single page is a waste of time, and I've been told the exact opposite, that you should care about telling all that you can to the prospective employer. It's a very important representation of you, and hours should be spent poring over every detail, no matter how much you think it doesn't matter.

Simone Jenifer said...

The length question comes up a lot. If your relevant experience needs to flow onto a second page, then proceed with caution. Here are a couple alternatives to the long resume:

-single page resume with a more-detailed cover letter,
-use 2, asymmetrical columns. Check out http://ohioboy.com/resume.pdf - this designer got lots crammed into an 8.5 x 11 space. If you try this method watch you point size.