This top-of-the-pile résumé package brings a
designer’s personality and work to life.
Editor’s Note: This article appears in the September 2011 issue of HOW magazine. Since the article went to print, we’ve discovered that the Best of Show winning project succeeded in finding its creator Kenny Barela a new job. Kenny reports: “I’m now working as an art director at Motive. I love it! I guess you could say the promo was a success!” Congrats to Kenny, and best of luck out there to all designers looking for work.
Rolled inside a brown mailing tube with a custom label was this year’s Best of Show winner.
What almost seemed like another well-done résumé package made jaws drop as the Promotion Design Awards judges extracted the contents and devoured each piece one by one. Designer Kenny Barela created a résumé package that beckons you to read every line and view every component, not skipping a single beat. It’s like a good book you can’t put down or a song you sit in your parked car to hear the last word of.
Barela took the opportunity to demonstrate smart copywriting in addition to sleek design work in preparing his résumé and cover letter. (Photo by Thatcher Dorn Photography) The idea for the T-shirt design came first, followed by the infographic once Barela realized that there was a missing component. “If you want something, absolutely go out and do it,” he says.
The piece was either hand-delivered or mailed to targeted agencies around the country when Barela, 29, was seeking employment in a new city. The first item removed from the tube is a gray T-shirt, screen printed by Barela with a tie and pocket protector, representing both strategy and creativity. He completes the tee with a clever tag that also acts as a calling card. A potential employer starts to see not only Barela’s professional style, but his personal style, too. “No two of us are alike,” Barela says.
He adds that when seeking a job in the design industry, he believes that your personality is almost as important as what you do. Besides doing awesome work, “you’re a real person, working in a real office with real people,” Barela says.
The résumé and cover letter come next. Both have strong design and smart copywriting. Barela intertwines just the right dose of humor to keep the viewer interested, but not annoyed. The final piece blows you away: an infographic that visually explains Barela’s experience and who he is in a nutshell. “This is a quick, informative and entertaining way to get to know who I am personally without having to read about it,” he says.
Immediately, a potential employer gets a taste of Barela’s skill and creativity, as well as his breakfast routine. “You’ll excel with the right approach. You don’t want to find yourself in a place where you don’t fit,” he says. The perfect blend of personality and creativity keep his appeal smart yet approachable.
“You probably don’t even have to talk to this guy to understand that he’s a good fit,” says Promotion Design Awards judge and HOW editor Bryn Mooth.
Barela admits that this piece is the result of looking for a change amid an economic downtown, during a stretch of time when finding work just sucked for many design professionals. Frustration turned from something incredibly dark into a spark for creative retooling that inspired him to create this standout selling tool that generated immediate interest. “Frustration can be a good thing when you leverage it to help you push the boundaries. I really do believe it can help you make it to the top of the pile. Remember, it’s you vs. everyone else,” Barela says.
The Best of Show winner offers keen self-promotion advice for those looking to revamp their own approach: “It’s not just about showcasing your work. Everybody has their own story. In the end (self-promotion) is about the work, but you’re the vessel for the work to be done.
“Make it fun. Make it interesting. Make it interactive—something that you could hold, experience and, in my case, wear. You’re creating a tangible piece to represent who you are.”
As far as the job search goes, Barela tells HOW that his self-promo tool has generated interest and promising results among agencies he targeted.
Title Strategy + Creativity | Art director/designer/ Kenny Barela, Albuquerque, NM; www.kennybarela.com