Think Differently About Presenting

One of the reasons I start my clients with blank white pages is to provide them with the space to think differently about presenting. Break out of that powerpoint box! But it’s not just about breaking out of the slide deck box. It’s about breaking out of the box (or Poke the Box as Seth Godin would say) in all forms of presenting yourself.

To my delight, I discovered an inspiration for presenting a resume / CV differently by way of LinkedIn. I discovered Vanessa C Stella. The beauty of Vanessa’s approach is that it is creative, unique and dynamic. I asked Vanessa if I could share her creativity and she was gracious enough to agree. Enjoy the Q and A with Vanessa and experience her interactive CV. Are you ready to be inspired?

Q: What inspired you to use the PREZI tool to create your CV?

A: I learned about Prezi while studying for my Bachelor’s degree and thought it was a great tool to use as an alternative to the static and overly used standard templates of PowerPoint. I used it to create academic presentations for projects and competitions at school and got great responses from it, and realized how much it made me stand out from the other students. Once I had graduated, I knew I wanted to create a resume that could show my creativity and keep someone’s attention in the same way my academic presentations did, and Prezi’s zooming presentation was just what I was looking for.

Q: The content of your CV is different from standard ones. How did you decide what to include?

A: It’s usually not until someone is brought in for an interview that a hiring manager gets to see how a person communicates, their personality, or what really sets them apart from the others. Standard CV’s don’t show any personality and are often a “one size fits all” piece of paper. I wanted to take a step away from that and chose to include things that would highlight not only my professional and academic successes, but also skills and attributes that highlight my own personality and style. I want those who view my interactive CV to see that I am different and that I am a person with a lot of diverse interests and creativity, and chose to include the content that I did to reflect all of that. For instance, I chose to include my personal blog as part of my professional experiences because it is something that I am passionate about and that I work just as hard on as I did the work at my internships and jobs, and I chose to include a “recommendation” quote from my mom and the fact that I may have a few too many pairs of shoes in my closet just to lighten things up and to include some humor, again to reflect on my personality. It’s an attempt to show right from the start if I would be a good fit with a company’s corporate culture.

Q: Will the CV be updated? If so, how often?

A: Absolutely! In fact, I have already updated it quite a few times. Any time there is something new that I have accomplished, a skill that I have developed, or a new fun fact that I think would add to its value and make me stand out, I will be updating and adding to it.

Q: What reactions and responses have you received from employers, clients, and others?

A: I have gotten comments from prospective employers, noting that it is a great way to show my web skills and creativity, and from friends and colleagues that it is really unique and interesting – something very much out of the “norm”.

Q: Has this innovative format helped you to find a job or clients?

A: I have not been hired as a direct result of my interactive CV….yet. That being said, I am confident that it will be a differentiating factor between other applicants and myself when I advertise it as part of my application.

Q: What format did you use prior to this one?

A: I had tried creating a graphic resume using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop to try to spruce up my standard, black and white CV in the past, but there are often a lot of hurdles to get over with that format due to electronic scanning and resume reading equipment. I think using Prezi is great because it still has great graphics, but is more interactive and stored online, so anyone who wants to view it has the opportunity to – something that cannot be said of graphic paper resumes.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?

A: Interactive CV’s aren’t for everyone. A suggestion I have for people interested in creating an interactive CV is to make sure that it fits the industry that you are looking to get into and your own personality. If a person trying to enter into, say, a law firm or the corporate financial industry, this may not be the best format to use. Also, if it does not reflect who you are as a person and/or job applicant, don’t create one. If the standard paper resume works best for you and reflects who you are, then continue to work on improving that and finding ways to differentiate yourself using that format.

Great insight and creativity. Thanks Vanessa!

More about Vanessa

Vanessa C. Stella is a 2011 graduate of Philadelphia University and currently works as a Marketing Assistant in the greater Philadelphia area. Aside from promoting positive thinking on her personal blog, Optimal Optimist, she has a passion for travel, health and wellness, and loves to visit new places, meet new people, and try new things. Connect with her on Twitter (@VanessaCStella) or on LinkedIn.