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What’s a college graduate to do in a tough economy? Make an innovative resume and get noticed!
That’s what Jack DeManche did in his final year as an undergrad student in Boston, Massachusetts. He modeled his resume after Boston’s subway map, giving him an edge over his jobseeking peers. Employers started calling him and setting up interviews. And even after Jack secured a job, his map-themed resume remains popular in the media. Here is Jack’s story…
Story Resumes: Jack, what inspired you to go the unconventional route and create a non-traditional resume?
Jack: When I was in my senior year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), I, like many of my peers, was excited about completing my studies but also worried about entering the “real world”. I knew that I wanted to work in a creative capacity for a company in the Boston area. I was thinking of ways that I could stand out.
Story Resumes: Why a subway map resume?
Jack: I knew I would need to do something that was both creative and would garner the attention of employers in Boston.
Story Resumes: What gave you the idea?
Jack: I’m not sure I have ever told anyone the real story behind how and where I came up with the idea. The inspiration came to me while I was lost in the city. During my winter break, I was trying to meet with folks in the city and learn more about available opportunities. I was about 45 minutes late for a meeting, lost somewhere underground, staring at the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) map, thinking about how I had missed the meeting, and it kind of just hit me.
Story Resumes: How did you use your map resume as part of your job search strategy and what influence did it have on the outcome?
Jack: I specifically looked for opportunities that would appreciate the creative nature of design. On a traditional resume you can use scores of overused buzzwords about your creative aptitudes. But I thought, “Why say it when I can take the chance and show it?” In hindsight, it seems like a risky approach, but I’m glad I took that chance.
Story Resumes: Did you do anything to help get your map resume noticed?
Jack: There wasn’t a deliberate strategy for promoting or getting my resume out there. With that said, there were a couple things that worked:
1) Sharing it on online and through social media. It was on my blog, posted regularly on Twitter, and linked to on LinkedIn. Using hashtags and SEO [keywords] (“MBTA” and “resume” were the big ones). I got pretty lucky in getting the word out.
2) Asking for feedback. I had made this cool resume and I was all excited about it, but I was also worried it might have been a crazy idea, so I asked for feedback. I got in touch with the folks I had connected with professionally and asked them what they thought. Many of those people turned into advocates on my behalf and shared it with their networks as a result.
Story Resumes: Was the response to your map resume all positive?
Jack: Initially, the reaction was mixed. In some cases, I found that (if nothing else) it would get me a ‘call back’ from potential employers. Many companies loved it and it got me quite a few interviews. Ultimately, I ended up taking a position with the startup I had worked for throughout my junior and senior year, Dailybreak Media.
I didn’t actually get much media coverage about the resume until after I had taken my job. Since then, it’s been featured on a number of websites and it was even picked up by the Seattle Times and made it into their Sunday print version.
Story Resumes: Jack, congratulations on your courage (and the subsequent media attention you scored) for taking a chance on your creative resume idea. We wish you all the very best!
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