Advanced Theory: What a Resume Says about Art

In the ongoing saga of your beleaguered writer friend looking for employment, I spent much of yesterday tweaking and retweaking my resume. The night before, I was going over it with my mother who suggested I add a list of qualites, i.e. buzzwords that tickle the jollies of corporate America . I understand the need to do this and I did in fact put a table of qualities I have on the top of my resume (which is well crafted and smartly utilizes the Twentieth Century font, Windows's answer to Apple's Futura), but I wonder how exactly this makes anyone stand out.

Maybe the reason why I haven't been called back to any interviews was because my resume previously lacked buzzwords like "team player" and "innovative" but how innovative is it really to use the same word everyone else is using to get attention? Isn't it more innovative to not use the word "innovative?"

The same thing happened to my GRE scores for the writing section. Both times I took the test, I got around a 4. When talking it over with a friend, she theorized that I probably got too creative and didn't follow the rigid structure that's expected of writing for a standardized test. It's not like I can't address a question, solve a problem, analyze a situation, or speak my mind without clarity. I just don't believe it's beneficial to do something that's supposed to be a personal expression in the same way everyone else is supposed to do it.

When you think about your resume and how it has to reflect you, but the you that's supposed to be the same as everyone else, do you really think it's serving the purpose it's supposed to serve? Your name is out there, but it's some contorted, easily digestible form of your name. Assertive, but not too assertive. Simultaneously "independent" and a "team player." Able to "think outside the box" while using such a common, overused, constricting term to say so.

But isn't the same thing thought about art? Entertainment is meant to fall under certain predictable parameters in order for it to actually find appeal to others, but in the same vein, it's also supposed to subvert audience expectations in order to not be too plain or boring. Going beyond these expectations to the point that it's repulsive to the audience could mean that the art doesn't reach the audience now or not at all. Art that subverts expectation could progress genres, it could create a new niche, it could be found too advanced for an audience at a given time, or it could just be bad art (which may be taboo to say for something so subjective, but let's face it, there's bad art out there).

So if an artist has this to consider when writing a novel, shooting a movie, painting a portrait, or composing a song, can the same be done for anyone who crafts a resume? How does one even bend the boundaries of crafting a resume (outside of futuristic looking sans serif fonts)? Should I print it in the back of my business cards? Do I use different colors? All lowercase lettering? Origami? T-shirts? When does it go too far and turn off my audience, i.e. prospective employers?

And I get to the ultimate question in my plight: Is there a such thing as artistic integrity when shilling oneself in this way to get a job? It's hard enough to be creative, productive, and successful in my occupation. It's even harder to do so in tough economic times.

Ultimately, I put that table on my resume because as much as I like the work I've done in the past, as much as I know I would be a good employee wherever I'll end up, and as much as I like to be a creative person in my writing, I have to get a job. I have to play the game of getting myself out there.

I have a resume that's different, but different like everyone else.


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