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You’ve seen a job you like. It’s in that field you’ve always wanted to be in. You think you match the selection criteria. You haven’t applied for a job in a while – but your resume is still good right?

You’ll just update the numbers and hit send.

I appreciate you’re in a hurry to get it out the door, but pausing for a moment and thinking about how you’re going to open the door on the other end might be prudent.

Will your application cut-through the 50+ other applications that come through the door?
Do you market yourself in the best way possible?
Have you spent at least a couple of hours on the application and tailoring it for who you’re sending it to?
Do you really want this job?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, then cool your jets Charlie, this plane isn’t going anywhere. (I can only help you with the first three).

Basic hygiene
So we’re all operating on the same level, I’m going to go through a few obvious tips that will help you’re chances.

  • Convert your documents to PDF. This is pretty standard. The rationale for this is that it increases the amount of machines that can view the document (including tablets and phones). You want to remove as many barriers and excuses there are in the way of hiring you, and this one should be a no-brainer. If you’re not sure how to convert to PDF, it’s usually done by clicking Print->(Save) as PDF.
  • Name your documents after you. Picture having 50 documents in varying formats all called “Digital Account Coordinator”. Then picture time-poor Account Director who is trying to get someone through the door as fast as they can. Then picture manually clicking on a file to see who the applicant is. Do you see something wrong with these pictures? Make it easy. Maree Jane – Digital Account Coordinator application – 29012014.pdf is a hell of a lot easier to hire than Untitled document.docx. Everyone hates that guy anyway, don’t tell anyone but I hear he double-dips.
  • Call out the selection criteria in your application. If a job lists attention to detail and proficiency with Excel, you better damned well make sure you show that you have these skills. And I’m not talking about a monolithic slab of example in the cover letter. Tweaking your job summaries to call-out these traits is the sort of thing that nets you gigs.

You need to make your resume adhere to CRAP
I need to make it what? The CRAP principle of course. I’ve borrowed this principle and emphasised it slightly from the The Non-Designer’s Designbook. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it if you know nothing of design and you’re looking to get into this industry. If you do know about design you can probably skip this section, as I know very little, and am seeking to help those that know none.

  1. Contrast. Is placing things against each other so they stand out. A bright red logo over liquorice black looks much sharper than splashed over purple. Artists and designers have an eye for this, and if you’re like me and don’t, cheat like me and go look at This will have lots of examples that you can “grab” and apply to your own resume.
  2. Repetition. When you’re putting a resume together, don’t just jumble fonts together and hope for the best. Maintain a consistent pattern throughout the resume. If a sub-heading is bolded Open Sans, make sure the next sub-heading remains the same. If you’ve got a line under each section, repeat it across sections, and so on.
  3. Alignment. Make the boxes of text align. This means drawing invisible lines in as many places as you can.
  4. Proximity. Watch how close the items are to each other, and try and emphasise as much white-space as you can, without looking plain. Less is more, and superfluous shapes and images are generally rubbish.

I’m sure designers are laughing at my primitive CRAP ways, but it’s a better system than no design. Heed my words, readthe book, or better yet be good.

What do you think you’re doing?
I’m sure there are other and better ways to go about selling yourself, but I thought I’d share a couple of examples of what I’ve done in the past.

Twitter Japan
An opening for a brand solutions strategist opened up in Japan, and being extremely interested in the place, I thought I would throw my hat into the ring. The job description called for presentation skills – and I thought I’d illustrate that by telling a story via slides.

Outware Mobile 
These guys were a mobile app developer based in Melbourne that I was interested in when moving back. I put together a bespoke 30-day plan to highlight how I’d attack it. If this seems like overkill, you’re gunning for the wrong industry, you can look too slick before a potential employer.

Outware – 30-day plan for a Marketing Manager – Luke Marshall

Zero Agency Melbourne
This was another one for a social and digital marketer position I was interested in just recently. I haven’t heard back from them yet, but I like to keep this sort of skill sharp when I’m freelancing with my own consultancy!


Why I’m sharing with this you
Perhaps you’ve seen a job you like. It’s in the field you like. You match the selection criteria and want to give the opportunity your best shot, but can’t add the level of polish to the resume you want.

If you’re the above, or are looking for a deck built, can help you.

Starting at rates of AUD$250 – we can help you with your killer presentation materials.