In-which a life gets summed, a job offer is missed and opportunity keeps a-knockin'.
So the question that gets asked of me often, usually BY me.. "What Do YOU Want?"
I have to keep asking it - not because it changes. It doesn't. I ask often because I have to keep reminding myself what I'm doing this for. The pure and simple love of designing something that others find interesting enough to view, or pay for. I get a real buzz from seeing something I've created printed or "liked" or "paid in full".
I have wanted to be a designer and/or illustrator since grade-school, when I drew haunted houses full of ghosts and bats for classmates during Halloween. I had a thing for haunted houses - fueled by my love of Scooby Doo cartoons. Comic books and animation helped me fall in love with the idea of seeing something I drew come to life in a story, but that will be another post for another time.
I still have that same 7 year old kid view... only now it's tempered with the reality of doing this to make a living. Success can only be defined by making a living wage at this point. Age has upped the ante on me and forced me to find venues that are willing partners for my vision. Not an easy task for someone who prefers the company of old movies and books to humans.
While my images make complete sense to me - they seem to leave a large segment of commercial interest cold. I'm too simple for the complex types, too cartoonish for the serious types and all too rudimentary for the advanced set. I keep toeing the water. Testing the temperature before I wade in. trying to please all of these types by toning myself down or pumping myself up.. but I'm realizing I should just jump on in.. damn the rocks, the monsters and the temperature.
This is the thinking I brought to my latest resume. And I'm proud of the outcome. The thinking, that is. I 'THOUGHT' about what I wanted to represent me in this, and I spent hours balancing the elements. HOURS.
Google resume/creative/designer, etc. and you'll come up with a lot of very strange resumes.
They represent the unique visions of a lot of creative and independent people. And most of them scare me.. not because they are good, or interesting, or memorable. They are that. They scare me because they are not very thoughtful. The thinking behind them seems to be a circus mentality. See the tricks my purple pony can do! Watch my career fly through a flaming hoop! Be amazed as my previous experience magically appears and disappears.
I won't put myself out there to judge any of these resumes. They have passion and passion counts. I even really like a lot of these. But I can't help thinking a lot of these have failed on a fundamental level.
Let's go over basics. Boil down the elements to the very bones of what is needed to have a functional professional resume.
1. You must have your name and any important information visible. Address, phone number, webpage.
2. You must show your experience. Both working and technical. And in an ordered way.
3. You must make a personal connection.
#3 is the most difficult to balance. How much is too much? You want to stand out - but not if it makes you look like a flaming ape.
Maybe this is my age speaking - I'm double the age of many graduates today and I've made my share of boner resumes. But I've been on the hiring end of this too and I will admit to tossing plenty of good people into the bin. A lot of what I see online might make it past me because I find it interesting - but my previous boss wouldn't hesitate to dump the lot of them, then laugh at me for choosing them.
Getting someones attention is important. Keeping someones attention is critical. I might stop to marvel at a bizarre resume but I wouldn't think of hiring someone who makes poor decisions on crucial levels.
In design school you learn that white space counts. More is less. Small = big. Knowing when and where to break these rules becomes instinct. A little goes a long way.
* Readability is VITAL to your resume. You can't know how many people will be viewing your info or where it will end up so hedge your bets and pull back a bit.
* Show you know how to balance crucial information in an appealing way. This is an important skill for any designer whether you code websites or make print ads. You have plenty of time and other options to be a Rockstar.
* Prove me wrong. I don't claim to have any supernatural sense about the rules. I keep up to date on trends and tech but I work alone. My insight hasn't made me rich or important. Just determined.
Do yourself a favor.. if you're bold enough to make an artistic statement with your resume - then you're bold enough to show it to 10 people you trust before posting it. And you're bold enough to take their criticism and make it better.
A few links to ponder:
So did I learn anything this year while creating my resume? Yup. Check it out here Resume!
I realized that it is vital to have a great looking resume online and available instantly.
I also realized the classic rules for size and font go out the window when everyone is viewing your info on a screen, or iPad, or cell phone. There is a real break from tradition here that can be manipulated to the advantage of clever designers and artists. It's awesome to think that decades of tradition and nuance has evaporated with the computer age. Let it crumble.
I personally chose to enhance my resume with additional links to my sites (via PDF Pro), and visual cues instead of type. I chose unique colors to make a statement because I know they will be seen. I kept the contrast deep for printing in black in white.. just in case. I avoided gradients for the same reason. I enlarged my branding and made it a dominant part of my page. And I reached out personally with social media to invite more attention.
What can you do with the rules? Scribble outside the lines or color within?
Write me and let me know.