A reader writes:
I’m in a creative field (graphic design). I keep reading articles from HR people like you that I should not do anything innovative with my resume, because HR people and their computer systems don’t like it. I’m not trying to get an HR job though, and I feel that my resume should be an opportunity to show off my creativity. Why does HR have to be the barrier to me showing my skills?
You’re right—HR people shouldn’t be the barrier. If I’m helping a manager hire for a creative role, I expect to see all kinds of funky. If I’m hiring for a flashy role, I expect to see people doing flashy things. The job search advice you read out there (and in here) is for most people, most of the time. If it doesn’t apply to you, you should disregard it.
Good HR people know when to butt out of the hiring process. I screen much more broadly for fields where I’m unqualified to judge the work. As you can see by the design of my blog, I am not a graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination. When I’m helping to hire for a role like that, I make sure the hiring manager is far more involved in the screening, because he is going to have a way better eye for that kind of talent than I. My role, in a situation like that, is to attract people who might want to work here, keep the process moving, etc. Good recruiting is often about getting over yourself and letting the people who know what they’re talking about do their thing.
It’s good to get advice on job hunting (especially from me), but like they say in Motown, your mileage may vary. You always have to apply your own wisdom and experience to what you’re reading.