Scott Belsky and Alexis Ohanian on Designing Careers That Don’t Exist Yet

Advice for creating careers in a post-resume age, from tech and corporate execs at SXSW.

Scott Belsky and Alexis Ohanian on Designing Careers That Don’t Exist Yet

“The idea that you can sum up your life in a one-page Microsoft Word doc is so outdated.”


Scott Belsky of Behance, Alexis Ohanian of and Breadpig, and Chris Hoyt, a recruiter at PepsiCo, had some solid advice today on the Fast Company-PepsiCo stage for a roomful of career aspirants in the post-resume age.

  • Making your resume stand out: Hoyt told the story of an
    applicant whose resume kept showing up in text searches for jobs he
    wasn’t remotely qualified for. It turned out he had included every
    possible search keyword as a line of microprint on the resume.  “We just had to give him a call.” 
  • When to work for free–and when not to: Ohanian hired a designer for Breadpig who had taken the trouble to create a wallpaper design on spec for the company. But Belsky countered that his site, a network for creative professionals, is trying to combat the proliferation of spec and crowdsourcing contests for logo design and the like. Conclusion: Work for free, but only if it’s on something you really love.  
  • Hope for the liberal arts: While we’re living through a moment of record unemployment for youth at large, the tech industry is going through the biggest hiring bubble in ten years. Anyone with Ruby or Python skills is going to find opportunities, the panelists agreed. But what if you’re not so lucky? Ohanian, a serial entrepreneur who was a business and history major, reassured a young hopeful that there’s plenty of room in the tech industry for great communication skills, creative thinking, clear writing, and of course, beautiful design.

Follow @fastcompany on Twitter; see live coverage from SXSW.

About the author

She’s the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her next book, The Test, about standardized testing, will be published by Public Affairs in 2015.