If you’ve never heard of Prezi, it’s a presentation software that is non-linear, has multi-media capabilities, and is a bit existential. So how do you use it in your job search? There are three major things to keep in mind when developing your strategy.
The first thing to consider in developing your Prezume is your audience. You may be sending it out with your resume, so it may be a good idea to use a Prezi in place of your cover letter or portfolio. You do have the flexibility to upload your one-page resume into Prezi’s interface. Ultimately, think of it as bit of a creative, out-of-the-box introduction of yourself and the value you would add to Company X that also happens to cover your work experience and skills.
Does that mean you can throw away all of your traditional “Dear Sir/Madam” (DSM) cover letters and only use your Prezume? Most likely, no.
As in any job search, before you apply for a position you want to do a bit of research. Thoroughly read the job description, visit the company website, search for employees on LinkedIn, look for Company X in the news, etc. In short, take the pulse of the organization and determine its overall personality to see if it’s a place where you would fit.
“Yes,” you say, “but I just need a job. I’m applying to any position I’m qualified for no matter the organization. Why should I care and do all of that research?”
Good question. Here’s a good answer: because.
Because even though you really need a job and might just take anything you can get your hands on, that doesn’t mean that you can sleepwalk your way through the application and interview process. In fact, if you sleepwalk through the application process you probably won’t get an interview.
Because even though the job you end up getting now might not be your dream job, that doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate stepping stone to the career you want. You need to make sure that career path is laid out before you accept or reject an offer.
Because you may be willing to take any reasonable job you get offered, you won’t get that job offer without doing company research and proving you are a great fit.
Doing a bit of research before you apply for a job is important because it helps you visualize yourself working there, and, in the case of drafting a cover letter, it will help you determine whether or not Company X will be receptive to a creative Prezi cover letter or more appreciative of a traditional DSM.
Determine your audience before you commit to sending a Prezi. Words like “innovative, creative,” and “out-of-the-box” listed in the company description or applicant qualifications are good indicators that it would be well received.
Because creating a Prezi is a time-consuming process, it’s okay to only make one or two generic ones that can be emailed to an organization. You can then personalize the email message to make it work.
A good rule of thumb is to write your Prezi to a skill set. If you’re looking for web design jobs, then include all of your experience and work related to those skills. If you’re looking for an engineering job, relate the text back to work you’ve done for clients and include pictures of designs. If you’re looking for a teaching job then design your message to highlight your leadership skills and include samples of curriculum you’ve designed. You could even develop a Prezi to showcase how you would use the software to teach a lesson plan.
Once you have an idea of the type of information you want to include, write it all out. Pretend you’re in an interview and someone is asking you why they should hire you for a job as a web designer/engineer/teacher/etc. Write out your responses. Long-hand, typed in paragraphs, bullet points – it doesn’t matter. Just get an idea of the amount of information you’ll have to include.
Once you have a brainstormed map of your skills and experience, organize it into areas of similarity. These are the main areas you’ll want to create in your Prezi. This also helps to make sure all of your bases are covered. You’ll be amazed at all that you’ve accomplished once you start writing it all down in one spot.
Edit the information down to what you think is the most important, the most worthy of highlighting. Once you have a relatively short list of your accomplishments and talents, try your best to write them all out in sound bytes or short bullet points – 3 sentences tops.
You won’t have to stay true to these sound bytes, but you do want to keep the text in your Prezi short and sweet. Ultimately, it will take an employer longer to navigate through a Prezi than it would to read a traditions DSM cover letter, but they’ll retain more of the information in the Prezi. Your goal is to make it engaging and interactive and shoot straight to the information an employer needs to know about you. I’ve known recruiters to spend 20 minutes navigating through a visually appealing, well-written Prezume whereas they would spend 10 seconds scanning a one-page resume.
As you organize your information, you’ll probably have an idea of how you want to organize it on the Prezi canvas. The overall design of your Prezume is almost as important as the information you include. Think of the goal of your presentation. Are you a young professional proving your worth? Are you a confident mid-level manager looking to move up? What goal or mission beyond landing a job and a paycheck are you hoping to accomplish? What, ultimately, do you most want a potential employer to know about you?
Once you think through these questions, see if you can develop a sort of mission statement for your job search. You can use this as a springboard for the overall design of your presentation.
Example: Let’s say that after organizing and paring down all of your information, you decide that your mission statement is that, as a future hire, the work you do would provide Company X with cost-savings benefits in 3 major areas. Maybe you should start building your Prezi by defining three separate areas as part of a workflow chart. As you zoom into each area, you can add the sound bytes for each skill set and set the navigation accordingly.
To view such a sample (and see the tips mentioned above in action), view the Prezume I created and have been using successfully for four years: