Most of the experiences you have every day you don’t remember. They’re forgettable exactly because they’re unexceptional.
What we remember, what we pay attention to, are things we DON’T expect. The surprises.
You’re applying for hundreds of jobs, you’re networking with hundreds of people, and yet it’s hard to know if you’re having success. Look at it this way: How many of those networking contacts do YOU remember? Or do you just have a big stack of business cards with some vague sense of hope attached to them?
When your résumé is in that big stack on the HR person’s desk, what makes yours more memorable than all the rest?
You want to convey a sense of uniqueness. Create a factor of surprise.
I was talking with a lady the other day who had bright pink hair. Was this an asset for her? It depends. If she’s looking to land a corporate job as an accountant, perhaps not. But in this case, she was a web designer focused on artistic and creative sites, so her hair helped to communicate that creativity. Nothing against corporate accountants, it’s just quite rare that a hiring manager would have an immediately positive response to this kind of image.
There’s some debate in the industry right now about whether it’s a good idea to include your photo on your résumé. That photo can give all kinds of impressions about your age, gender, professional presence, creativity, even pride in your work. But photos are still unusual enough that it will make your résumé stand out from the crowd.
But is that a good thing?
It depends on the mindset of the person reading it. And that’s what is difficult here, because you rarely know who that is. You know something about the company, of course, and perhaps the culture of the particular group. Beyond that, it’s usually just a big question mark.
I advise people to include photos when there’s an aspect of the job in which your personal presentation has value, AND where the photo conveys an impression that reinforces that message. That’s why I’ve had my website photos re-done: My coaching engagements are very much about developing personal trusting relationships, and I wanted to convey something about what a coaching discussion FEELS like to my clients.
In my former life as an engineer, I wouldn’t have thought that snapshots would be useful. In my forays into public speaking, they could be critical.
Let’s have a look at your business card. I find that most people just think of it as a way to convey contact information, plus some pretty colors. But is there something memorable, something surprising?
I got a card once that was printed on clear plastic – very cool. Because it was for one of my associates in marketing, it really reinforced that they would be creative and innovative.
But most of the cards I see these days, especially from job seekers, are standard VistaPrint designs that I’ve seen a million times. If you want to be remembered, it doesn’t cost that much to make something that reinforces who you are! Play around with bold designs, strong fonts, heavier cardstock, even your own logo. Create a job title which puts a great image in the recipient’s mind. Include a QR Code which points to your website or LinkedIn page.
Get courageous. You’re not spending a lot of money here.
And if you want to try the pink hair, go for it – as long as it’s going to make that positive “wow!” impression that will support you in your job search.
by Carl Dierschow