Some creative industry resumes don't follow the traditional route of resume writing. An example is a resume that you prepare for a profession that is known for being unconventional. Use an unorthodox resume only if you are sure that it is acceptable in the field you want to enter. It's important to remember that the difficulty with seeking a job in some of the 'unique' industries is that the wrong look or feel to a resume can land it in the trash quicker than in any other field. Snobbery abounds in the creative media fields, and the hiring managers from these industries know what they like and that's that.
Some tips for special-field creative industry resumes include:
1. You're allowed a bit of leeway if you're in an artistic profession, but generally speaking, keep your resume simple and make your portfolio samples the parts that sparkle and sell your skills. A resume that's hard to read because it's done in fancy script or has a 'designy' format may distract the reader rather than draw him in for closer scrutiny.
2. If you're involved in theater, you still must open with a summary statement that sells, just like you would if you were a lawyer, teacher, or doctor. You can't get away with a simple laundry list of your movie/stage credits; that won't do the sales job for you. Your resume may go up against some candidates who are more creative in their resume approaches, and the resumes that sell are the ones that net auditions.
3. If you're looking for a job in an artistic field, you can make your resume dazzle and sparkle. But don't go overboard, trying to sound like a wild 'creative' who will do anything, no matter how unconventional.
Instead, highlight yourself as a professional: 'Experienced photo stylist interested in gaining magazine-staff experience and flexible about contract work versus full time.'
4. Mention in your cover letter the availability of your portfolio of work samples. Don't attach this to your resume, or insist that the hiring manager look at it. Naturally, you want to showcase your talent if you're an artist, fashion designer, architect, graphic artist, advertising or PR wizard, photographer, photo stylist, or any other professional whose work can best be seen by pictures, not words. But having someone take the time to look at your portfolio usually won't happen unless you win an interview. Use a three-ring binder folder and include a table of contents to show what's inside; typical components are work samples (your established stuff), resume, testimonials, award certificates, media clips etc.
5. If you're a hairstylist or in another art field that has a regular and loyal clientele, it's a good idea to include customer testimonials in your reference list, not your resume. This is helpful because otherwise, a prospective employer has nothing to go on except your word ('I have a loyal following of four thousand who will be coming to have me do their hair at the new salon, too!').
6. Understand that in the design field, the choice of font or a bad design may get your resume in the trash much more quickly than lack of experience.
7. Don't be pitiful in your resume or cover letter. Example: 'Having looked everywhere in town and having been rejected by everyone, I hope that you will give me a chance.'
8. Don't say that you're 'willing to do anything' to get on board, which comes across as desperate.
9. In artistic fields, don't try to sound like an old pro when the hiring manager can take a quick glance at your resume and see that you're boasting.
10.Don't name-drop to try to make the hiring person believe you're a 'real actor.'
11. Don't pad your artistic resume with mentions of workshops, etc. that you know will impress unless you actually attended (knowing someone who went there doesn't count).
12. Don't overdo it. Interviewers in the arts fields recognize fakery faster than anyone, and they truly look down on fraud more than they do a record of zero experience.
13. Emphasize examples of your efforts at continuing education, which are always important in arts fields. If you've been an television producer for twenty years, show proof that you have stayed aware of the changing trends and that you make a point of keeping relevant.
14. Be sure to include any awards you have won for projects or presentations. Explain what they mean; don't assume that an employer will understand how impressive it is that you were named 'Top Producer' five years consecutively in a 'Doordarshan' production.
15. Designate any specific certifications you have received, such as for video editors maybe a certification course by Adobe for a particular new breed of video editing softwares. You don't need to amplify the well-known ones, but do give a rundown of those that are little-known.
16. If you're in the fashion industry or graphic design, your portfolio is your main sales tool, and you should make sure that your resume or cover letter refers to its availability. Use your portfolio to set you apart; include projects you're most proud of and ones that show your talent and skills. You can work your way into the creative corridor by showing an excellent portfolio and a strong resume. Take into consideration the company you are targeting when you choose items to display in your portfolio; include the things that fit that company's particular 'look,' and don't include those items that would turn them off, or that aren't their style. You want to show the company what you have to offer insofar as taking their look to even higher levels of excellence. (Pick through your portfolios- the one you assembled for getting into design school, one for graduation, and one you compiled to enter the job market. Don't hesitate to include press clippings from trade publications and fashion magazines, and be sure to include work that brought you kudos.)
17. In describing your professional experience, be as specific as possible to give a clear picture of what your responsibilities were at each job you held. Don't assume that the interviewer will know; different firms delegate responsibilities to different positions, so your job title may not translate. For example, some magazines have managing editors edit copy, while others make this role strictly managerial, keeping the flow of each issue on schedule. If you've been a managing editor and you're trying to get a job as an editor-in- chief, you must prove that you've paid your dues editing other writers. You may want to mention in your cover letter that you have many samples of issues for which you did most of the copy editing.
18. Emphasize elements of past jobs that are applicable to the one you are seeking.
19. Give the prospective employer a clear picture of your version of what this job is-in other words, if you are a wedding planner, what does your version of wedding planning mean? Be specific in the cover letter and resume.
20. If your field is makeup and hair design for bridal wear, explain how you approach doing these tasks for brides: Do you consult with the family to get their preferences, do you improvise, or do you have a one-size-fits-all approach?
21. If you're a novice at the profession and you're trying to get your foot in the door, you can list creative awards won in school-high school and college-and explain what these mean. But if you're a veteran of twenty or more years, a stroll down that historical avenue will make it seem like you're desperate. A forty-year-old who is still bragging about winning the county fair poster contest in seventh grade is going to make a hiring manager look askance at the resume.
22. If you have spent periods freelancing, give a very clear delineation of your activities. Did you work with a number of commercial clients? Did you seek work actively or rely on referrals? How busy were you? Did you stay so busy you had to turn down work?
23.Include any ongoing independent study that you're doing. Give details on the type of course, why it's relevant, how it will beef up your bag of tricks.
24. Toot your own horn when it comes to your skills because creative types must do so in order to get hired: 'Showed strong design skills, won praise of editorial staffers for the designs for their features, etc.'
25. Even though your field may be esoteric, you can still seize opportunities to spotlight ways in which your work affected the bottom line; for example, you can show that your work as a showroom display designer increased sales by 15 percent within two months of your hire date. Specify, specify! Don't hesitate to pat yourself on the back for work that won praise; that's the part of your resume that a hiring manager will focus on the most.
26. Give plenty of details about the scope of your job; in other words, if you're a personal chef, you can indicate if this meant catering huge dinner parties for high-profile guests-or if you made three meals a day for a person who was confined to bed because of illness.
27. In fields such as graphic art, be sure to specify if you created designs or brought to fruition the designs someone else created.
28. If you want to apply for a senior level position (fashion, art, print, theater, design), you must emphasize leadership and team-building skills. Often, the interviewer will be looking for signs of the prima donna in the arts fields, so it's up to you to set yourself apart from the divas by pinpointing how well you get along with subordinates, peers, and management. On the other hand, if you haven't related well with co-workers in the past, keep it to yourself; you can't sell yourself in a way that isn't based on the truth, but you also don't have to flaunt that you're the Bad Seed, either. 29. Emphasize your ingenuity and creativity. If you're in any of the arts fields, from design to film-making to wedding planning to landscape design, it's important to underscore your ability to come up with striking new ideas.
29. Don't highlight knowledge or skills that may be considered irrelevant. That's the mark of a novice resume writer-and, by the same token, a novice 'creative.' The fact that you painted backdrop scenery for your college plays won't be of much interest to a big-league art director. On the other hand, if you served as an assistant to an author, and you're seeking an entrylevel job with a publishing company, this former job will interest the employer.