The resume has been a staple of the job seeker for decades. Most advice focuses on using a more uniform approach and standard process for the included information. However, sometimes a nontraditional resume gives you additional opportunities to not just draw attention, but to demonstrate your skills.
Before you let creativity run rampant, here are some considerations regarding whether a nontraditional resume is the right approach for you.
Introduction to Nontraditional Resumes
Any resume that is not the traditional paper (or digital) offering that lists your current skills, experience, and education can be considered nontraditional. This can include the use of alternate formats, mediums, or a combination to create a unique offering beyond what is normally expected.
Some of the common iterations of unconventional resumes include video resumes, personal career-oriented websites, online portfolios, and infographics. Other options can exist depending on your field of expertise.
Often, these differing forms are not required as part of a standard job application and may be ill-advised for certain positions. However, when used wisely, it can bring additional attention to you as a candidate and can result in more opportunities.
Pros of a Nontraditional Approach
For candidates interested in more creative fields, a nontraditional resume can work to demonstrate your skills in an accessible way. For example, marketing and design professions are well-suited for an unconventional approach. If your job includes the use of video or sound editing, photography, or other areas that cannot be fully explored on paper, choosing a resume format that allows you to demonstrate those skills can be helpful.
Nontraditional resumes can also help applicants who do not possess much work experience in the field but do have suitable skills. Instead of trying to convey your abilities through a regular resume, adding a nontraditional format that directly relates to the work you are pursuing can bolster your odds.
Cons of a Nontraditional Approach
Even if your profession encourages creativity, that does not make a nontraditional resume ideal in all situations. First, most companies will require a traditional format for your resume and application. Applicant tracking systems cannot review information held in different forms, making a text-based approach a requirement.
Second, some organizations dislike the use of graphics and visuals that are common in nontraditional formats. Some hiring professionals feel that these approaches take away from the content, making them unnecessary if not bothersome.
Making the Choice
Nontraditional resumes must be as professionally designed as a traditional resume. This means that you have to dedicate the time (and possibly money) necessary to make it work. Failure to create a strong resume in any format can result in being passed over, so this isn’t when you should consider doing something halfway.
Additionally, you may need a traditional resume as well. That means you need to keep both up-to-date at all times.
If you aren’t confident that the company you are applying to will appreciate an alternative approach, provide a traditional text-based resume or application. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide a nontraditional resume as a supplement, especially in creative fields.
Relying solely on an unconventional resume is a risk, but it can work in your favor. It gives you a chance to demonstrate your abilities and express your personality. That means you may find a better match regarding company culture with a nontraditional format than a text-based one.
If you are trying to decide if a nontraditional resume is the right move for you and your career, or are interested in exploring new employment opportunities, The Armada Group can guide you in the right direction. With more than 20 years of experience matching candidates to job opportunities, we have a thorough understanding of what is happening in today’s technology-based job market. Contact us and see what we have to offer.