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When you are the presentation

  • Linh Nguyen
  • November 05, 2015

Despite having more opportunities than ever, the fact is still this: finding a job is just as hard, and getting one is even harder. One of the main causes of this is the skimming culture of recruitment. People don’t read your resume, they scan it. And who can blame them? Usually, it’s a very small group of people spending a large portion of their time looking at thousands of applicants that it’s no wonder they lose focus by the end of it all. If it’s a smaller company, the people running it hardly even have time. The skimming culture is hard to avoid. In an age of acceleration, convenience is indispensable. Standing out - a necessity. Getting your foot into the job market requires two vital ingredients: standing out and convenience. How do you get yourself noticed and how do you do it quickly?

Job applications are no longer confined to a Microsoft Word document; instead, people nowadays go all out just to get attention, and we don’t really have a choice: things move quickly in this world. Hiring should be the most important thing a company does, because with the right people, businesses will grow. Hiring itself has changed too, employers aren’t just looking at skills or degrees anymore, but cultural fit and potential.

We’ve noticed increasingly a lot of people use Swipe to create portfolios and resumes, and it quickly made sense to me as to why it’s useful for that purpose because people are looking for more visual and expressive ways to show who they are. The more we delved into this, the more useful tips we found. These are some lessons that we learned, from our users, to get yourself noticed in the modern job hunt.

Keep content relevant

There’s this thing called the framing effect. Everyone does it. It’s when we react to a particular choice depending on how it’s presented. As the old saying goes: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. But in this case, it’s both. Since Swipe is a communication tool used to present, that frame is already set into place. You make your portfolio or resume with that intention in mind. A presentation is effective because it doesn’t allow you to write everything down, only what’s relevant.

People often make the mistake of putting in every job they’ve ever had as proof of skills and experiences. This shouldn’t be the case. It’s your best work that makes you stand out, so you should only include your best work in a format like this. If you’re proud of what you’ve done, it will show. Work doesn’t just mean a job that paid, but a project you’ve started, an event you pulled together, because they all express your ability to think and act.

Take advantage of the vertical view

Presentations are great in a slider. You get a slide-by-slide view that frames your content in the most bite-sized way possible. But Swipe also has a vertical view that renders your presentation more like a normal web page. Presenting content vertically makes it more likely that people will scroll through everything, even if they’re in a rush. The Swipe vertical view is like a very visual, powerful PDF that was made for the web. It looks great on any sized screen and isn’t cluttered with branding. Here’s an example I made:

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Know the power of first impression

First impression counts so getting your personality down is just as important as your past experiences. Your choice of colours should be a way to let potential employers know more about you. Think about what feelings you’re trying to evoke and take advantage of that. We have a collection of great templates in Markdown that can help inspire you. Design is not just aesthetics but usability. A general rule of thumb when making presentations is consistency. One thing that we’ve seen over and over, and we would recommend, is to pick two primary colours for your background and font and swap them for every section. It does a great job at breaking content up and making it easy to frame topics.

Time is not on their side

General job applications are boring, too long and hard to read, from the cover letter, to the resume, to the email. Why not just compact those three into one with a short link? Think of that link as a lifeline for you and your potential employer. The person hiring you has to get through a lot of applications, so capturing their attention requires quickness and great design. Anything less will get lost in the sea of information.

So use theirs and yours wisely

Customize your resume to every company, because every company is different. Time isn’t on their side but it can be on yours. A company always knows when you have not done your research, because you do not speak to its culture. A formal letter doesn’t work for everyone (certainly not at Swipe), nor do educational grades. It still surprises me that with more information online, people still get lazy when it comes to research. Take the time to read up on the people you could potentially be working with because then you have a solid base to connect.

Open in a new window or download this template

Your application isn’t just about you; in fact, it’s more so about them. It’s not just about showing them what you’ve already done but making them understand why you want to work for them. Help them envision how you can fit into their culture. Build stuff without their permission and show it to them.

Everyone wants to be impressed, so be impressive.

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Linh Nguyen

Linh Nguyen

Head of community at Swipe, a writer who loves talking to people.