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For the past fifteen years, I’ve worked with creative people across all communications industries, and across all levels of seniority, and in all parts of the world. In that time, I’ve seen about 45,000 resumes. And, I have realized that most creative people have one thing in common: Their resumes are often the least creative thing they will show me.

In fifteen years, I have only read two resumes from writers that made me laugh. In fifteen years, I have only seen one resume from an art director that immediately communicated his aesthetic. In fifteen years, the best resume I have seen from a creative team, not coincidentally, was sent to me by the hottest creative team in the country. And sadly, in fifteen years, I have only seen two resumes with a creative concept.

This is something I have never understood. Isn’t your resume supposed to be the first impression you make? How can a creative send a resume that looks like it was created by an assembly line worker and then attach a covering letter that contains self-descriptive words such as “dynamic”, “innovative”, “passionate”, and “dedicated”?

The following are five pointers that I hope will nudge you into creating a resume that entertains, informs, tells the reader a lot about who you are, then makes them respond with, “I WANT TO MEET THAT PERSON TOMORROW!!!!”

Good luck!

Yes, you need a resume.

Please don’t tell me, “Oh I’ve never needed one. I’ve just always been called and gone for the interview.”

This is what the person listening to that sentence thinks when they hear that: “This is someone who has let life happen to them. Not someone who had a dream, a goal, a plan and made it happen. ”

Even if you’ve always been one of the fortunate few that has had people call you for the jobs you’ve ultimately taken, isn’t a resume a nice leave behind?

A well thought out and beautifully crafted resume says, “I’m proud of what I do, and I thank you for letting me share my accomplishments with you.”

Your resume is your first attempt at meeting someone who could play an important part in helping you get closer to your dream.

People take one moment to look at your resume.

About as long as they say people look at advertising. This is the most important ad you will ever create – it’s an ad for you. This is a product you know better than any other product you’ll ever work on. If you can’t sell that convincingly, how will you be able to sell anything else?

Your resume is the first piece of marketing communication you will create for someone who may ultimately become your creative director.

What do you want to tell them about yourself that will make them decide to meet you instead of the 300 people that do exactly what you do lying in the same pile of paper?

If winning awards are your life’s passion, why aren’t they on your resume?

Oh I know. You’ve got so many that you can’t keep track.

Please. No one is buying it. If you can’t proudly and neatly list the work you’ve won awards for, what does that say about how you approach the day-to-day task of winning them?

This business is a detail business – winning an award means that a million tiny details have all lined up perfectly to create a brilliant piece of marketing communication. Show me that you have the attention to detail it takes to create award-winning work, and then tell me on your resume that you’ve done it.

Now that you have my attention, how do I find you?

I know it sounds obvious, but you would not believe the number of resumes I see that don’t include the following information: home address; home telephone; cell phone; email address.

Again, it’s about attention to detail.


Your resume should be impeccable on a Mac and a PC. If you’ve created it on a MAC and don’t know if it opens on a PC, then send it to someone you know that has a PC and ask them to open it!

Your resume should look as good in its digital incarnation as it looks on paper.

Your resume should not be sent to anyone at 300% of its actual size so that the person who opens it sees the first letter of your name in 140 pt. Copperplate. Similarly, your resume should not be sent to anyone at 10% of its actual size.

ALWAYS be ready.

You need a resume. You need an updated resume. You need a resume that’s ready to send at a moment’s notice. So on the first day of every month, open your resume and make sure it’s still current.

Imagine this scenario. You are sitting at your desk and your phone rings. It’s David Droga. He’s heard about you and would like to know if you could send some of your work and a resume.

Which answer would you prefer to give him?

“Uhhhhh, gee David, my stuff isn’t ready. Can I have the weekend and email it to you on Monday?”


“Sure thing. What’s your email address? I’ll have it to you in 1 minute.”

I think getting a call from David Droga (or John Hunt, or Jeff Goodby, or Tony Grainger, or David Lubars) like the one I just described would be a dream come true for most creative people.

So when it happens, don’t blow it.

~ heidi