In this pervasively digital age, is the traditional “paper” resume obsolete?
I started thinking about this question when I stumbled upon some articles introducing the “visual resume”. What is a “visual resume”, you may ask? Essentially, with the advent of user-friendly design software, free images, a creative approach and good ol’ Powerpoint, you can set up a visual representation of your resume – which may be more impactful in helping you stand out from among a plethora of other potential job candidates.
My initial reaction to this idea was one of wonder: “Wow! What a great idea! I’m done with boring paper resumes – this is the future!” But as I thought about it further, I also realised: contrary to common misconceptions that it’s “out with the old and in with the new” especially when it comes to digital media, digital media merely expands the channels for communications rather than replaces them (hrm… something to expand on in another post).
Still, the idea of visual resumes are quite compelling and this is the presentation that set me off on them:
Throughout the course of your life, you’ll probably end up view several thousand presentations. Whether it’s at work or even in a social setting (like church), you will encounter many, many attempts at visual communications. Some of it will be pretty good, much of it (unfortunately) continues to be pretty bad. So bad, in fact, that it actually detracts from what would otherwise be a great presentation.
This year, let’s kick off with a better attempt at giving better presentations with visual aids.
To start off, here’s a great summary of some of the best practices that I use in my presentations. From here, I’ll also encourage you to check out Slideshare.net (more about Slideshare soon).
Similar to Death By Powerpoint, this billboard above is a great example of what NOT to do when it comes to designing information that is intended for quick impact. The key message, which I thought was very well phrased, was lost amidst the jumble of text at the top and the bottom:
You have no more right to pollute with tobacco smoke the atmosphere which clean people have to breathe, than you have to spit in the water which they have to drink.
Here’s a great Slideshare presentation on how best to avoid Death by Powerpoint:
I would also highly recommend the work of Presentation Zen as a great place to learn better design for communications.
I was reading this rather hilarious (unintentionally so?) New York Times article about how the US Military is struggling with the use of Microsoft’s PowerPoint programme (“We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint“) when I suddenly thought: The way some people use PowerPoint is exactly the way how some people do Marketing & Branding! My short take on it: STOP IT!
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about… you’ve seen the endless walls of text, countless bullet points, gaudy clip art and tacky special effects (whether slide transitions or sound effects). In the end, your key message(s) get lost… and all you have is an irritating presentation where people are more annoyed by your bells and whistles than impacted by what you had to share.
(Folks, it’s a presentation – you’re supposed to be communicating an insight, a life-changing truth, or just plain information – not plastering all your notes onto a slide then reading off it)
It’s kinda the same way how people do branding and marketing, don’t you think?
They fill up their communications (whether a TVC, press ad, online banner, brochure or social media site) with EVERYTHING. You’ve seen the walls of text, countless bullet points, gaudy clip art and tacky special effects (in this case, it’s usually production finishing effects). In the end, your key message(s) get lost… and all you have is an irritating piece of communication or a brand where people are more annoyed by the peripherals than impacted by the core message, product or brand.
Don’t be afraid to focus, focus, focus! That, to me, is the key to building influence and impact into your brand or marketing effort.