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Lessons From the Football Field: Using Alternative Media in Your Resume

Topics: Career Advice

With fall quickly approaching, I’m ready for one thing—and it’s not the changing of the leaves. I’m talking about football, folks. I’m a proud Bears fan—there’s something sacred about a team that’s been around since the advent of the league, like being part of a historical brother/sisterhood. I have many favorite players, but no one left us with more inspirational quotes than the late, great Walter Payton. My favorite single line from the man known as Sweetness was this: “Never die easy.” The full quote goes into much more depth, but the root is that if you’re going to go, go big.

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This idea could be applied to resumes, depending on your field. I’ve written countless articles about what makes a great one, how to get noticed, and what to include. Increasingly, resumes with multimedia elements are helping candidates stand out from the competition. Keep it mind there is some risk involved—it’s not the best fit for every job, and alternative media may be overlooked during automated review stages—but it could be just what you need to set yourself apart.

For those crafting resumes, here are some suggestions on how to include alternative multimedia in your resume in an effort to “hit them head on.”

The 53. In the NFL, the current active roster size is 53 players. If you’re a player, you don’t want to be number 54. Similarly, as a candidate within the application process, the goal is to push beyond the next hoop and get further along within the interview process. A great way to separate yourself from the crowds is by incorporating the use of infographics. We’ve all read the various studies and interviews that show the average recruiter or hiring manager spends only a handful of seconds reviewing each resume; the use of infographics can instantly bring your resume to a starting position. You don’t need to be an engineer or marketing wiz to create graphics that showcase your talents, as there are many programs ready and waiting for you to take advantage. One of my favorites is It’s customizable and does all of the heavy lifting by pulling info from your pre-established social profiles.

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Off the Field. Most job seekers have some sort of social media presence. It’s widely known that those in the hiring capacity will often resort to researching various social media sites in order to ensure that what they’re seeing on a resume ultimately translates into a great organizational fit. Candidates should focus on their applications and resumes, but there is good reason to also ensure that what you’ve put out there in terms of a social media presence lends credence to why you should be selected for the job. If you’re in the market for a new opportunity, consider paying attention to your social media footprint and clean things up where possible. If your footprint is a bit light, think about beefing things up a bit. It may not be the primary resource the recruiter will use, but it could make the difference in moving forward or being rejected.

The Combine. For those ready to give the NFL a try, the combine is the place to showcase your talents—it’s where folks get noticed. For job candidates, blogs and personal websites can help you catch recruiters’ eyes. Including links to your blog and personal website (especially if you have a lot of followers) can often be the tipping point that sells the story of “you.” But be cautious—if your blog is highly charged (political, religious, or other contentious subject matter), including links within your resume may not be a great idea.

American football embodies some core components are relevant in the HR/recruitment world—hard work, dedication, talent, and execution. Pushing past the norm of yesterday is what drives the game into the future. As job seekers, including alternative media as part of your application or resume package is one way to showcase your greatness. As the patriarch of the great Chicago Bears, George Halas, said, “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” Consider using alternative media to help you create a winning resume.

Michelle Kruse has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At?ResumeEdge, Michelle recruits and hires résumé writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships, and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.

Michelle Kruse
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