I’m no expert in writing resumes, cover letters, or letters of interest to prospective employers. Granted, I’ve written a few and I even worked at my university’s writing center as a college estudiante, but when it comes to real-world practice, I’m constantly changing the way I put together my resume—we’re talking tone, style, and word choice just as much as format and font.
Somewhere inside the Internet I once read an article about making yourself stand out (old hat, I know) in the application process. This article went on to postulate that the best way to do this was to have a unique style in your cover letter and resume—both in deviation from the template provided by your ‘puter and the information with which you stuff it. I thought this to be a load of horsefeathers, since I always imagined a horde of bespectacled sexagenarians blanching as they reviewed my uncouth resume before their shaking hands swept it into the nearest trash can (sexagenarians generally hate recycling).
I unconsciously maintained this mindset until sharing some asparagus and steak with a roommate (let’s call him “Dan”) I had had in college. During our conversation, in which he was tootin’ off about his new suave job, “Dan” told me he had decided to take a risk in the application process.
“I wanted to make myself stand out from every other graphic designer out there,” he told me. Leaning back, he breathed through his nose, opened his eyes wide, and fanned all ten of his fingers flat on the table. “Under objective, I said I wanted a job that paid enough that I could buy a sports car, snag a trophy wife, then drive around maniacally before falling asleep on a pile of money.” He blinked, then smiled. “And it worked. The interviewers said they absolutely had to talk to me after seeing my resume.” “Dan” landed the job with ease, and said that in the interview, his soon-to-be boss again commented on the ability of the unorthodox resume to grab her—and others’—attention.
Now, I haven’t had to interview for a job since I had this discussion, so who knows how well this tactic might work in any other situation. However, in an employment environment such as this one, taking such a risk as a tongue-in-cheek objective statement might be your ticket to Destination Payday.