The best resume advice anyone can offer

The only thing more difficult than figuring out a way to not sound desperate or like a complete suck up when writing a cover letter is figuring out how to present yourself and the skills you have acquired through a resume. Many of us grew up making our own, single sheet resumes through Word or a similar program, but as anyone trying to find a job in the world today will tell you that method is now considered the bare minimum in terms of presentation. Especially in industries like music where competition is tough and jobs are hard to come by, doing the bare minimum rarely gets you where you want to be.

So, in an overcrowded marketplace where talent is everywhere and substantial employment is always hard to come by, what is someone like you to do?

Two words: Get creative.

I recently read a story about a man in San Francisco who had been having trouble getting even as much as an interview, let alone a real shot at landing a job. San Francisco is considered one of the toughest job markets in the United States today, and the city itself often ranks as one of the most expensive places to live in the world. To stand out from the competition this man disguised himself as a delivery man and delivered a box of doughnuts to person responsible for hiring at the various offices around the city where he hoped to maybe find work. Inside each box of doughnuts, in addition to the confectionary treats that got him in the door, would be a copy of the man’s resume. Check it out:

Out of 40 deliveries, the man in this story landed 10 interviews.

Obviously, when stories like this go viral copycats are bound to make themselves known. You might not be able to get away with pulling off the same stunt as the man in the story above, but you could find a way to apply his ingenuity to the field and companies where you wish to work. I remember a publicist for a wildly popular metal label telling me about how his application was printed in blood red ink on black paper. That kind of creativity takes about 10 seconds to implement and can make all the difference between whether or not you get called in for an interview.

I wrote last week about how those seeking work in music would be wise to “find a need and fill it.” While I do believe that to be the best way to seek out work in music, you still need to convince whoever you are looking to work for/with that they you’re worth the money it would cost to bring you on as an employee. A creative resume or a creative presentation of your resume is a good way to do that, and it shows you’re willing to go the extra mile when most others would settle for the bare minimum. That’s the kind of drive that separates stars from bands that never make it as big as their music suggest they should be, and it’s what every employer in music is looking to find in new recruits.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.