Employers appreciate effort and commitment. Making your resume stand out is definitely something that helps get your foot in the door for an interview. Pink Paper, or sending it in a funny shaped box might have gotten you noticed 10 years ago, but in this world of electronic resumes your CV will have to be a lot sexier.
Erin Michael Vondrak does a marvelous job of this with her musical “Cover Letter.” Erin is a 26-year-old graduate of University of Redlands, and she created an animation that she posted to YouTube titled Dear Valve: Hire Me which features animations, music, and lyrics that she wrote and performed. The result is an amazingly heartfelt introduction to her as a potential employee.
While YouTube critics have said that it doesn’t show off talents that would interest Valve, that wasn’t really the point. It was to get noticed. Building a mod for a game, or showing off 3D models wouldn’t differentiate her from all the other candidates out there. But how many other candidates could get 100k YouTube views the first week? Or 60k the first day?
Erin has actually outperformed the trailers Valve releases for its games. Very few of those hit 50k the first day. Most never break 200k views over the first three months.
Chatting with Erin throughout the day was an experience. The video game community has flocked to see the video, but many of the people who would compete for a position at Valve have responded with pretty hateful comments. Erin has brushed it off.
To help get Erin’s video off the ground, LockerGnome’s team seeded the video to a bunch of communities that we thought it would play well with. As it gained traction, those communities spread it to the other communities of which they were also members. This is the nature of viral video. Spreading it to the right core audiences makes all of the difference. Having a great video to start with helps of course, but to really make a video take off you need both.
Erin’s reach across countries and demographics has been especially fun to track. The video was in the top 100 videos in New Zealand and Australia. It was the 12th most watched animation in the US for the day.
These are all numbers Erin can take to Valve to demonstrate her ability to make compelling content. Video games aren’t just tech, they are stories. In any interview, the ability to tell a story makes a huge difference in the likelihood that you will get the job. Telling a story before the interview just improves those chances.
This technique won’t work for you if you want to be an accountant, or the director of human resources (unless you are really good at storytelling), but it works for other things. Showing that you are an evangelist before you get in the company is a great way to show that you will be a great evangelist inside the company. Prove that you understand that heart of the company, and that will get you more than a foot in the door.