A Tale of Two Resumes

**Alert: this post requests participation. Read, consider, and leave a comment about where you stand in the Tale of Two Resumes! Input and ideas are highly appreciated!**

I recently decided to be an adult for an afternoon and update my resume. This is always a highly stressful task, since my yin and yang of creativity and professionalism often end up at odds with one another. On one shoulder is my professional conscience, wearing a cardigan and a pencil skirt and yelling (ok, ok, whispering loudly) to make a clean-cut, traditional resume. On the other shoulder is my creative conscience, wearing skinny jeans and a funky blazer and shouting to create a resume that reflects my personality and shakes things up a bit. So who’s right? This is the great resume debate of my generation.

The field of speech-language pathology is in the midst of an exciting transition. We are learning to embrace and use amazing new forms of technology in our pediatric and adult interventions! Smart boards/computers/tv’s? Yup! QR codes? You betcha! Augmented reality? Ain’t no thang! So the question is: do the folks doing the hiring want to see us stick to the classic resume formats, or do they want to glimpse our innovation and creativity in our single-page “self-pitch?”

After a few days of mulling this over and asking the opinions of a handful of professionals I highly respect, I’m still torn. I recognize that many people out there like what’s familiar and comfortable in a resume: black and white, Times New Roman, straight lines, and plain borders. AND YET…I have a lot more to offer than black and white and straight lines. I think in bubble thoughts and colors. I am dynamic, thoughtful, and witty. I want someone who’s considering hiring me to feel that they know me just a little before they even meet me…but does our field want a resume that does that? My internal debate has led me to create two resumes: one that walks the traditional line, and the other that skirts the funky line.

So I pose the question to you: what kind of design should drive a resume? Do images, symbols, and technology impress or overwhelm? Are creative resumes helping our field to move forward and embrace new ideas and new technologies, or should soon-to-be graduates stick to tried and true formats?

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24 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Hanna,

    I love love love! the creative resume! I think it really stands out. I don’t think it looks unprofessional either. I reckon it would get you an interview, if only because it is different. After looking at dozens of applications for hours, it can be HARD to remember them. I have to ask – if it didn’t get you an interview because its too ‘outside the box’, would that be a place you want to work anyway?

    I also think it’s great that you put links to your blog on it – That will let them know more about you, and whether you fit into their culture.

    Good luck!

    Reply

    • Hi Gail!

      Thank you so much for your thoughts. I suppose that I would much rather end up in a working environment with folks who are excited about a more creative résumé. I think those of us entering the work force in the next year are so hard-wired to be panicked about finding good jobs that there’s a pressure to “fit the mold” rather than be true to one’s personality. It’s so nice to hear that people like you are out there and appreciative of a little creativity amongst all the “usual suspect” resumes!

      Reply

      • Of course, your very first job won’t be the last on you ever have (probably). Reading the comments below, it’s also important to consider your audience – If you can get any info on the person interviewing you, and their preferences, that will tell you which one will be better received.

        Another way to express your creativity, is to have a few creative elements – maybe keep the coloured headings, but use traditional titles, and give the link to the websites linked to with the QR code (which many may not know what to do with!). You could also link to the more creative one online, which allows more interaction as well.

        I find the comments on a pne page resume very interesting – here in Australia 2-3 pages seems more the norm.

        Good luck with securing your first job!
        Gail

  2. I LOVE the “Hanna-ish” one! I’m with you about not knowing what employers want. As a CF though, I feel like this might be one way to stand out amongst other, long-standing SLPs. You should make this a Template :)

    Reply

    • Ah yes, in all my free time I shall make resume templates, haha ;) I spent a fair amount of time on the layout of the creative one, but I would love for others to use components of it as inspiration if they choose (hopefully just not a direct copy)!

      Reply

  3. I would also add that we had a meeting with an individual from the university’s career office who said that as we are now in the professional field/grad school pool a multipage resume is acceptable. Mine is at 3 pages.

    Reply

    • That’s great to know! It seems like I hear the 1-page rule being yelled from the rooftops so often that I just assume that’s the current expectation.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Hannah on December 5, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I adore the creative one, but I would keep the basic Word Doc one for applications that require you to upload a copy into a specific system. The creative one may not be compatible for some application systems.

    Also, do you really want all your personal information available to anyone with a computer? I’d blur out your personal address and phone number for the blog, but leave email. Or maybe I’m just paranoid!

    Reply

    • Hannah- THANK YOU for catching the personal info! I made a note of that last night when was writing the post and must have uploaded the wrong screen shot (go figure). Fixed now! Also, thanks for your input! Do you think the formatting would be incompatible even as a pdf? I am hopelessly terrible with formatting, so I’d love to know more about this!

      Reply

      • If you’re uploading a PDF I imagine it would be compatible. For places like hospital systems or other settings where you are applying through an HR department that deals with many other parts of the employer I would think the simple format would be more desirable.

  5. Posted by cmf-slp on December 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Send both. As an employer I love young, creative enthusiasm but also know that there are LOTS of times when being a real professional is critical. I would love to know that you are capable of both.
    PS never try doing therapy in a pencil skirt – too tight for sitting on the floor with kids and too tight to work with disinhibited head injury adult males!

    Reply

  6. Well, I personally love the “you” one, but as mentioned above, keeping a traditional one is always a good idea-just in case!
    Thanks for posting this! As an almost CF, I’ve had the same question!

    Rachel
    Let’s Talk Speech Therapy

    Reply

  7. Posted by Arielle Gawron on December 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Okay, so I printed off a picture of each example of your resumes and showed them to the administrators at my school. The principal preferred the traditional but (and no offense meant to her) she is also an older more traditional individual. Our assistant principal preferred your creative one with a few changes.

    He said in your Professional Experience area that “Upcoming” doesn’t fit since you haven’t done it yet. Also, in the descriptions of your experiences you don’t really notice the title of the organization, is not highlighted like it is on your traditional resume. He says if you made your Professional Experience area a bit “meatier” (those were his words) then he would definitely prefer the more creative one. He says that if it is a position that lots of applicants apply for then yours would stand out. Also, it shows how comfortable you are with technology which is important now-a-days!

    Reply

  8. Posted by Lisa on December 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I love the creative one…..if you look on pinterest there is (at least ) one like that…and some of the comments (non Slp’s) have been negative…..some have been informative. One thing though…..if you are applying ,online the creative one is not always read…and if a computer is doing the sorting by looking for “key” words…then you willbe overlooked. That is less common in our field…but something you should be aware of.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Christina F. on December 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I love your creative resume. It looks very nice. However, I would recommend the more traditional resume. After working for a year, I did a lot of interviewing over the summer to find a “better fit job”. In my area, all of the people on my interview teams were older administrators. I think they were looking for a more “traditionally professional” resume/candidate. Look at where you are applying and what they might be looking for.
    Whatever you go with, definitely stick with one page. I know they tell you that you can do multiple page resumes, but the fact remains that with so many candidates apply for jobs, a long resume is likely to get overlooked because it is harder to skim.

    Reply

  10. They are both an outstanding reflection of what you have already accomplished. However, I agree with Christina F. saying it depends on the setting you are applying for. A medical setting or school district will be more inclined to appreciate the traditional ONE page. If you are applying to a private practice for kiddos or a more cutting edge position (i.e. accent reduction, telepractice) then definitely go with the creative one – it would be more appreciated by the person looking to higher you … and they might even know what to DO with the QR code! LOL

    Reply

  11. Ditto on your creative résumé. And yes keep both as it may depend on how you need to send it. Good luck! You have exciting times ahead!

    Reply

  12. Posted by Chana on December 8, 2012 at 2:26 am

    I’m so out of the loop on this. I returned to school as an older adult but I prefer to express myself creatively even though I’m older than most of the people I interview with. What program did you use to create the creative resume?

    Reply

  13. Great question. I’d have both available. Just as I research a school before an interview, it is wise to research a school before sending or handing in a resume. If the school has a good website and, it seems, a tech-savvy principal, send the infographic. If the school seems to be about 20 years behind the times (and you still want to work there), send in the traditional :).

    Reply

  14. This is such a great question. I read thru the comments and am still on the fence. I am in somewhat of the same predicament although I do have a job (or 2) I love. There is always more work to do. I wish I knew- are any of these responders employers and have they have ever seen a “creative” resume like that come across their desk?

    Reply

  15. Posted by Morelia on May 21, 2013 at 4:32 am

    As much as I love technology, I think keeping it simple can be more effective. At first glance, my reaction was to use the more “traditional” one. I wondered why that one had appealed to me, and I think it might be because I felt like I had to work a little harder to find your information on your more “creative” version. The more traditional version makes you the “star” — whereas the more creative version makes the resume itself the “star.”

    Reply

  16. Hey! Late to the party here, but wondering which one you went with!

    Reply

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