Not long after starting my new job, the Deputy Superintendent asked me into his office and shut the door. His first question – “do you know why you are here?” My mind immediately started trying to interpret the intent of the question. “Why am I sitting in your office?” “Why did I get the job?” I stammered in response something about innovation and changing organizational culture. I could tell I had answered incorrectly. “It was your resume.”
He was quick to clarify. Of course my resume was not the only reason I was hired. There were rounds of interviews and letters of recommendation and all of the normal sort of protocol. “I think I looked at your resume for an hour, I just couldn’t figure it out. I’d never seen anything like it.” I had caught his attention, and after all, isn’t that what a resume is supposed to do?
Back in January, as I prepared for my job search, I decided I needed to update my resume. It seemed like a logical place to start. Despite the fact that I find my own experience and education pretty interesting, the common boilerplate format I was using was altogether uninspiring. Hoping for something more substantial, I turned to the Internet and used “cool resume” as my search term. Google displayed resumes that ranged from spruced-up traditional resumes to those that used visual displays to radically change how information was presented. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my favorites were created by graphic designers and multimedia artists.
As I started experimenting with my own redesign, I found myself facing down internal doubts. “You’re not a graphic designer!” Well, perhaps not by formal training, but I’ve learned some things. “Future employers will think you are crazy!” Probably true, but the purpose of a resume is to draw enough attention to land an interview. Ultimately, I wanted to strengthen my own professional identity as a designer and innovative thinker, and wanted to work with a team that saw those skills as an asset. In some ways, I could turn the tables and use my resume to screen potential employers.
Fast forward to last Thursday, when I was formally introduced to all the classified and certificated managers in the district. The intro was short, and to my surprise, it included an invitation for everyone to check out my resume. So, I’m posting the resume that got me my present job. Presumptuous, I know, but the e-mail requests have been coming in. I guess when you try to defy convention you should be prepared for unintended outcomes.