Want a Job in Publishing? Why Not Publish Your Resume as a Book

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By Andy Reynolds

Patrick Dennis: Is the English lady sick, Auntie Mame?

Auntie Mame: She’s not English, darling… she’s from Pittsburgh.

Patrick Dennis: She sounded English.

Auntie Mame: Well, when you’re from Pittsburgh, you have to do something.

I’m with Auntie Mame—and I’m from New York—but when it comes to job-hunting, you have to do something.

Last June I suddenly lost a great job as the VP of Marketing & Publicity at a visual book publisher due to necessary downsizing. I was crushed to find myself derailed from what had been a great career trajectory and dismayed at the prospect of having to look for a new job.

I immediately jumped into job search mode, but with each submission to various job websites, I felt more and more invisible. Is my entire career to be reduced to — and my professional fate to be based on — a few robotically flagged keywords? Not to mention the tricky gateway question of salary range. (On one site, it’s the first question, beyond which one cannot proceed without answering.) I wanted a better presentation. As I said, I had to do something.

So, as a publicist coming from a background in visual books, I designed my resume package as a coffee table book. Not only was it a great excuse to evaluate my career and flex my skillset, it was a helluva of way to procrastinate! (Really procrastinate: I designed a matching postcard and created a website to host the “book.”)

My mirror ball got people talking, but didn’t get me a meeting…

Over the years I’ve sent attention getting resume packages to companies – even if they weren’t hiring. One year, I sent 11 mirrored disco balls (one 10” + ten 2”) to the president of a UK digital music company setting up a NYC office. Another year, I messengered a paper coffee cup (complete with lid and napkin in a brown bag) to a marketing company — tweaking their logo on the cup to represent the new audience vertical I was proposing. The disco bomb got tongues wagging, but surprisingly, was never acknowledged. The coffee cup, however, got me a great meeting, though the company was not in a position to hire.

I’m now in the process of using my resume-as-coffee-table book and postcards. While I’m playing by the rules and submitting my resume and cover letter online, I’m also mailing letters, resumes, notes and postcards in various combinations to human resource departments as well as publicity and marketing heads and even art directors, asking them to blab about my resume book to their colleagues. (A senior art director at a huge publisher has promised to do just that.)

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…while the coffee cups worked!

I’m not advocating that everyone should do a resume as a coffee table book, but I do think it’s critical, when faced with the fetal-position terrifying prospect of looking for a new job, to do something – anything – whatever one can to appreciate and showcase one’s skills. Though the goal is to get the attention of a great new employer, the flipside of the coin is that by going through the self-assessment and self-marketing process, one can gain a renewed sense of control, confidence, and calm, all of which allow one to move forward – and keep moving forward – rather than stagnating in a pool of panic. Worked for me.

More about Andy can be found online at his website, http://www.andyreynoldsresume.com. 

About the Author

Guest Contributor

Guest contributors to Publishing Perspectives have diverse backgrounds in publishing, media and technology. They live across the globe and bring unique, first-hand experience to their writing.