Looking for inspiration on how to create a knock-their-socks-off application? Forget the two sides of A4 approach and think laterally.
New, accessible technology and tough competition has led to ever more inventive applications. Welcome to the new age of job applications.
The humble CV has come a long way from the confines of Microsoft Word, with infographic CVs and video applications now popular. And once past the CV hurdle, there’s the interview. Where once the telephone interview was considered a bit out there, today you might find yourself Skyping with your interview panel, answering those age-old interview questions over cyberspace.
Whatever the medium, the good news is that pretty much the same job application rules apply. Paper, screen or otherwise, it’s all a matter of selling yourself.
The video application
Presenting yourself on screen might seem hellish for some people, but for people working in careers where presentation and client relationship skills count, a video application will showcase your personality so much more than a traditional paper application. Say you’re applying for a sales job and claim you’re a whizz at presenting, a video CV will really help to show off your presentation patter.
And you don’t need the lighting of a Hollywood film set to produce the desired effect, with just a camcorder, basic editing software and a well-thought-through script, you can produce a professional-looking clip. Take inspiration from PR specialist Graeme Anthony, who in 2009 became a bit of a web sensation with his take on the video CV.
The infographic CV
A favourite of designers and digital creatives, the infographic CV is a visual representation of your life and career to date. For anyone applying for a design role or a job where an appreciation of aesthetics and information presentation counts, this is definitely one not to miss – plus they’re pretty fun to produce.
Get inspired from US multimedia journalist Chris Spurlock's CV, which went viral earlier in the year and landed him a job as an infographics editor at AOL.
The Skype interview
Once you’ve got your foot in the door with your CV, the interview is the obvious next step. Forget face to face, these days it's screen to screen in online interviews. Skype interviews are growing in popularity with recruiters, and the widespread and easily available technology makes hefty cost and time savings. And they’re useful for applicants, too, allowing you to slot an interview into your day without taking too much time out.
The downside of the online interview is that you should really take the time to familiarise yourself with the technology before you attempt to impress. But it’s easy enough: simply download and install, practise making video calls to friends, think about your setting, the lighting and the position of your webcam, and you’re good to go. The only tricky bit should be answering the actual interview questions.
Pimp your CV
If you want to get really creative, how about a 3D CV, a T-shirt CV, a fabric application or comic strip CV. Who knew writing a CV could be so much fun?
Of course, these ideas should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not all recruiters expect – or want – a high-polished show reel in place of the bog standard CV, and if you’re applying for a job in a bank, a comic strip CV might not be the best medium in which to send your application.
Whether you’re a fan or not, these new-fangled job applications can teach us all a lesson or two in how to stand out from the crowd. Job applications don't have to be dull – the next time you apply for a job, make your CV work for you.