Given the importance of the moment a prospective employer opens a job application and reviews a resume it’s mind-blowing how many are badly formatted, vanilla or stuck in the nineties.
Trendy Resumes are offering a solution in the form of a user-friendly, online platform powered by WooCommerce and we chatted to Antonio Iacopino, Trendy Resumes CEO.
Tell us a little bit about the company and how it started.
Trendy Resumes started after some thorough market research. We noticed that resume templates were widely searched on the Internet and thereby identified the demand. We also noticed it was a niche with low levels of competition. Before starting with the design process, we had to decide on the file format. There are several resume templates for Word you can download for free on the Internet, but they are usually not very creative.
The ones for Photoshop are better looking, but are not as user-friendly since not everyone knows how to use Photoshop. So we decided to make templates for Microsoft Word, which is the most popular format requested by employers and it’s easy to work with, while keeping the great looking you would achieve by using Photoshop.
Last but not least, templates had to sell at an affordable price, as we believe that everyone should be able to present themselves well for a job, without breaking the bank.
What was the brief when you started out on the website? i.e. what were the requirements in terms of performance, features etc?
We wanted a website with a modern design and an easy management interface. WordPress seemed like the best platform to go with. We wanted to give the website an eCommerce feeling, because the ultimate goal is to sell our templates, however, we also focused on branding, as we wanted to build a community of “trendy job applicants”.
Who built the site? Did you have an internal WordPress developer or work with an agency?
We have WordPress developers and designers in our own team. However, we sometimes hire consultants online when we need to perform specific tasks. From time to time, we outsource work for design, SEO, server maintenance, although we usually carry out these activities in-house on a regular basis.
Why did you go with WooCommerce above other eCommerce platforms?
After evaluating a few eCommerce solutions, we opted for WooCommerce. We find it to be a very solid platform, it promptly follows the latest WordPress updates, and it has lots of extensions, from several payment gateways to various basic and advanced additions that save our business a lot of time, money and effort if we had to build them ourselves. Moreover, WooCommerce was recently enhanced with the addition of digital download features, which made it just perfect for our purpose.
Tell us about the theme, extensions and any customizations used for the site?
We use a theme that was specifically built for WooCommerce, but we could have used any, as WooCommerce is compatible with virtually any theme. We customized it here and there, but not extensively, then we applied our own branding and style. As per the WooCommerce extensions, we take benefit of the payment gateways, and we also use the WooCommerce Product Add-ons extension, which is invaluable for us.
Why did you decide to go with illustration over regular photos?
We named ourselves “Trendy Resumes”, therefore we wanted something trendy. Photos are usually convenient, but we felt that illustrations could show off our creativity, which is in line with the whole goal of the website. Illustrations also allowed us to explain better why job seekers in today’s world should use our creative resume templates.
Any challenges unique to building the site?
The challenges we experienced were not strictly related to the website, but rather to the resume templates. We had to come up with designs that are “universal”, meaning that where possible, they can be used by any gender, any age and for any job, while maintaining a stunning look. They also had to be compatible for both PC and Mac users, which involved loads of testing for the resumes to be fully compatible with both.
Another challenge that every business has to face, and again not an easy one, is Google. If you want organic traffic you need to rank high on Google, and it’s not an easy task. Once you achieve that, you also have to maintain your rankings and be in compliance with various Google updates, to keep the business alive.
Tell us three things you’ve done, beyond setting your platform up well, to drive sales.
We focused on white hat SEO, as we need organic traffic from Google to drive sales. We have also expanded the sales reach on other platforms, such as Etsy, that bring additional revenue without needing SEO. Ultimately, social networks rule the world today, so it’s nearly a must to be present on as many as you can.
How are you currently using email and social marketing to support your online store?
Social media is the best marketing strategy for us. The power of people sharing your posts or products is amazing and drives more leads toward your business. On the other hand, email campaigning doesn’t work well for us as it’s usually considered spam and doesn’t have a high conversion rate. We only collect emails from current customers, so we can use them to promote the latest news and designs to our users.
What are your favourite aspects of the site?
I love eCommerce in general, and I love it even more when the products offered are digital downloads! They give us peace of mind as we don’t have to keep inventory nor deal with shipping. However, our favourite aspect of the business is when we hear feedback from happy users that got called back, or got the job, or tell us that our resumes helped them in the job process. That makes us feel that we’re truly making a difference.
Done a resume for anyone unusual?
Myself! I wasn’t looking for a job but I wanted to test out the effectiveness of our designs. I sent a few resumes out and I received two jobs offers from two multinational companies and a call back from Amazon. Those experiences validated the launch of the website and its success.
Thanks to Antonio and Amanda for collaborating on this case study with us. Feeling like you need to review your resume? Yep. Never a bad idea! Head to Trendy Resumes and get yourself a trendy new look.
A well presented CV is your key to getting an interview. Employers receive hundreds of CVs, they make snap decisions on whether or not to interview you based on its appearance and content. So, how do you put together a CV that will get you an interview?
Content and presentation
Your CV is the tool you use to market or 'sell' your skills and abilities to an employer. It is your chance to show them that you are the right person for the job.
Some golden rules
- keep it brief - no more than two sheets of A4. Imagine an employer with a big pile of CVs to read - less is definitely more!
- you do not need to put 'CV' or 'Curriculum Vitae' at the top - it is obvious what it is, so use that space for your name instead
- include only relevant and current information, and give the most important information first
- do not be tempted to bend the truth - employers are checking information more carefully now, so you will only get caught out
- use active verbs which highlight your achievements, such as 'achieved', 'organised', 'produced' and 'designed'
- make sure it is easy to read with space between each section
- avoid large areas of text - use note form instead of long sentences. Break up text with bullet points
- print your CV on white A4 paper and stick to just one style and font, avoid gimmicky or flashy formats
- check your grammar and spelling - then check and double-check again!
- ask someone to check it through for you and get help with your word processing if you need it
- print out a copy of your CV to keep yourself. A potential employer will use your CV to form interview questions, so it's useful to remind yourself of what you've written!
First of all, think about how your skills, education and experience compare with the skills needed for the job. If the job description does not give you enough information, ask the employer for more detail. Spend some time researching the job you are interested in as well as the company. This will help you catch the employer's eye and show that you are suited to the job. If you have followed the exercises in the 'Beginning your job search section', you will have compiled information relating to your skills, experience and qualifications.
Note: Each job is different, each company is different, and your CV needs to change too. The basic structure can stay the same, but think about the job you are applying for and adapt your CV to show how your skills and experience match the requirements of the job.
Choosing an appropriate CV format?
There are three main styles of CV:
- the reverse date order CV (also known as the reverse chronological CV)
- the functional CV
- the targeted CV
The Reverse Chronological CV
The most popular format and is generally the one preferred by the majority of employers. It presents your most recent (and probably most relevant) experience or qualifications first and works backwards. For example if you have just finished your 'A' levels, these are mentioned first and underneath your GCSEs and grades.
The basic structure is:
- personal details - name, address, phone number, e-mail address and date of birth. Rather than heading the page 'Curriculum Vitae', which does not really need saying, simply use your name.
- personal profile - this section is optional. It is basically a very brief summary of your skills, experience and achievements. If you choose to include this, keep it to just a few lines - you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.
- qualifications and education - keep this relevant. Do not put down your 100 metres swimming certificate unless this is required for the job!
- work history - this can include for example work experience, paper-rounds, Saturday jobs, voluntary work. Start with your most recent experience and work backwards. List your major responsibilities and achievements for each job.
- leisure interests and other activities - only include these if they are relevant to the job. Do not make things up here as you may well be questioned on them, particularly if the interviewer shares those interests.
- references - these are the names and contact details of two people outside your family who know you well. You may choose to ask a teacher/lecturer or previous employer. It is not essential to include these, but it may be useful if you have enough space. Otherwise just write 'available on request'.
The functional CV
The functional CV is a useful format if you have little or no employment experience because it gives you the scope to emphasise strengths, achievements and skills gained elsewhere.
The structure of a functional CV is usually as follows:
- personal details
- details of skills, abilities and achievements under relevant headings
- work history - just dates, company and position held
- other relevant information
(If your educational qualifications are good, you may want to place these before the skills section)
The targeted CV
This is similar to the functional CV in that the emphasis is on skills and achievements. However, with the targeted CV, these are listed under headings which relate to the job or field of work you are applying for. For instance, if you are targeting a job in retail, you might list skills and achievements under headings relating to customer service skills, numeracy/cash handling, computer skills and so on.
If you choose this type of CV, make sure you are absolutely clear about the specific requirements of the job.
- The Right Way to Write Your Own CV, J. Clarke (2001)
- How to Write a CV That Works: A Concise, Thorough and Comprehensive Guide to Writing an Effective Resume, P. McGee (2006)
- How to Write a Great CV: Discover What Interviewers are Looking for, Focus on Your Strengths and Perfect Your Presentation, P.McGee (2006)
- How to Write a Winning CV: A New Way to Succeed, A. Jones (2001)