Despite great advancements in technology, the curriculum vitae (CV) has largely retained its standard look; a Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat document listing a job seeker’s qualifications.
Some human resource consultants even advice against being too expressive in your resume, lest you distract the interviewer away from what really matters – your qualifications.
A new crop of job seekers is, however, daring to break this mould and are now developing digital CVs that are not only making tongues wag, but securing the developers lucrative jobs.
One such individual is Angela Njagi who pieced together a 1:41 minute video of her resume and posted it on her YouTube page on May 31. The video, titled ‘The Shoe Story’ has gained nearly 6,000 viewers since then. SEE VIDEO HERE
Angela, a Bachelor of Commerce graduate from Africa Nazarene University, who was at the time working in the debt recovery department at Kenya Commercial Bank, was two weeks ago hired by Squad Digital, a digital advertising firm.
“I was constantly sending ideas to the bank’s marketing team but felt that I was not getting out of debt recovery. I decided to go the extra mile and do something creative,” said Ms Njagi during her interview with Digital Business.
“My peers and friends were skeptical of the video, some said it would fail miserably while others thought it was kind of silly. However, they all cheered me on once the video gained traction online.”
Her video is themed around a panhandler who, instead of begging for money to buy food, has several placards each with different messages about her educational and professional background.
Some of her placards are titled “creative looking for a shelter”, “Academia: bachelor of commerce”, Work Experience: March 2014 to date – KCB debt recovery officer” and “Why Me?”.
She does not expose her real identity in the clip which has her tapping a pair of tattered rubber shoes to the song ‘Bills’ by Lunch Money Lewis, an apt selection given her goal.
The decision to remain anonymous, she explains, eliminated the risk of potential employers pre-judging her because of her looks or appearance, allowing them to focus on the content of the video.
Ms Njagi, who has also served as an intern at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, says she chose to express herself using the shoes since they convey movement.
“I have no background in advertising. The only way I could get attention from the people I wanted to work with was if I showed them what I could do hence the decision to turn my CV into a concept,” she said.
Earlier this year, Business Insider reported about a woman living in San Francisco who used digital media to land a job interview at Airbnb, a website used by people to rent out lodging.
Nina Mufleh, who moved to the US from the Middle East a year ago, really wanted to work for Airbnb, so much more that she created a resume that mirrored the company’s website.
Her dummy website not only included her personal information, but also contained insights on how the company could improve its services and achieve more growth.
Ms Mufleh’s CV was an online sensation, catching the attention of Airbnb who offered her a job interview. She was also called in for interviews at Uber, Dropbox and LinkedIn.
“I actually thought, I have not done everything I can,” she told Business Insider. “I have done the same thing multiple times, but I have not tried new approaches.”
Other examples of digital CVs include one by a Toronto-based art director who printed his experience and qualifications as nutritional information on a cereal box, a creative move that landed him a job in days.
Another man from India spent four days making a 3D resume using wires and paper while a graphic designer from Singapore printed her job experience and personal details on medicine bottles and packets.
Manish Sardana, the general manager at Squad Digital, says he heard about Ms Njagi’s creative girl from one of their clients in KCB and immediately got interested.
“In the creative advertising field, the first requirement is a person who is interesting,” Mr Sardana told Digital Business. “Storytelling, an essential component of advertising, is something which cannot be taught. You either have the ability or not.”
As a copy writer at Squad Digital, Ms Njagi comes up with concepts and words so as to best market a specific product or brand. She is assigned a brand, briefed on what the client wants out of it and she then has to develop a catchy narrative to sell the product.
Kenya’s institutions of higher learning have been churning out thousands of graduates every year, in the process increasing competition for white collar jobs. Job seekers send out CVs and, in many cases, do not even receive a regret letter.
Maybe it’s time for others to think outside the box like Ms Njagi and repackage their resumes in an irresistible fashion.
With the growth of technology and corporates engaging clients on digital platforms, this space has become a core part of product development.