Getting a job in the old days really was easier. First, there were more jobs, and fewer people applying for them. Many jobs could be had by walking in the front door and asking if they were looking to hire. Or, (at least in movies) you could grab the “Now Hiring” sign in the window, hand it to the shop owner, and get to work. With some schooling you could land a better job (which is still true, but no amount of education guarantees a job, or a well-paying one). And keeping a job was easier. All you had to do was show up and, well… do your job.
Nowadays, it’s quite different. Corporate employers switch out employees seemingly as often as they might change their underwear. Young people lack experience and can’t find employers willing to give it to them (the jobs, anyway, are taken by qualified older people downsized as a result of the recession). Now, the idea of long term employment at any company seems quaint and antiquated. Approximately 45 million people in the United States are contingent workers. Freelancers, consultants and other independents make up 35 to 40 percent of the private workforce according to Hannah Morgan, author of “The Infographic Résumé.”
Predictions are that those numbers will only increase. Landing the job – or keeping it – just isn’t what it used to be. In sum, being on the job market can be a daunting task. We’ve heard that before. And countless self-help books purport to tell us what we can do about it, very often with rah-rah platitudes suggesting that if you believe in yourself, you can land the ideal job.
I can tell you – from personal experience – that many years of believing in myself (and I mean really, REALLY believing) has never landed me my ideal job, in which I hardly work but earn five million plus and get the newest, latest iPhone without ever having to stand in line.
A refreshing advantage of Morgan’s book is that she shows you – literally and visually – one way to make you stand out from the crowd. Minus the introduction and some text that explain why doing a infographic résumé is a good idea, Morgan takes the tired concept of paper résumés and gives them a 21st century, digital (of course) makeover. The idea isn’t a new one, but here’s a book that gives you some very practical, visually enhanced how-tos.
A distinct advantage of the infographic résumé is that it includes pictures. And who wouldn’t prefer to look at pictures than read. In practical terms, that means you can include much more about yourself than you might otherwise. It allows you to showcase your work (with links to websites or videos). You can include letters of recommendation so the prospective employer gets a sense of your merits before having to request them. Instead of just listing awards, you can show them! Links to organizations where you volunteer can expand your attractiveness, especially if some of the volunteer organization’s photos feature you.
About the only downside, from a pre-digital age perspective is that the old one-page résumé contributed, if only a little bit, to leveling the playing field. Some people have more experience than others, but you still had to fit it all in the same amount of space. Without photos, you couldn’t always tell if an applicant was male or female, black or white, overweight or thin, mature or young. Once you showed up to the interview, of course, they’d know anyway, but at least you had a fighting chance to get in the front door. The digital age has erased all that. Sadly, it has done little to reduce the prejudices that have long affected hiring and firing practices in the U.S.
In any case, the aim of a good résumé is to land the interview. The interview is where you try to land the job. Whether you are digitally savvy or not, Morgan’s book provides good insight, easy to execute tips, as well as samples both in the book and online, to equip you to make a winning digital résumé. If the snazziest infographic résumé wins, Morgan’s book helps give you that fighting chance. FBN
By Constance DeVereaux
Flagstaff Business News