How Good Design Can Benefit Job Seekers - A Conversation with Graphic Designer Anneka Burghout

We live in a visual world where graphics sometimes say more than words and first impressions matter. With that in mind, on our most recent episode of the Caring Support Podcast, we had an interesting conversation with graphic designer Anneka Burghout about how good design can benefit job seekers regardless of their industry and stage in their careers. Keep reading to find out what we mean by all of this.

Q&A with Graphic Designer Anneka Burghout

As an experienced graphic designer, how much do you think a well-designed resume can positively impact someone's job hunt?

ANNEKA BURGHOUT: I would say a decent amount. I have been in a sort of recruiting position before, and I’ve seen good resumes and bad ones. No matter what industry you are in, if you have the opportunity to stand out, it is totally worth it, and a resume is usually the first impression that a recruiter gets with someone. If your first impression is a document filled with text that doesn’t really make a lot of sense to the eye, is crammed with information and isn’t divided into sections, the brain does not usually like it. Now, if you take a little bit of extra time and divide out the sections of your resume to highlight what actually matters, that’s a great first step to make it so much more visually appealing. Take that to the next step by adding in a bit of colour and design, and your resume is going to stand out immensely next to a bunch of black and white pieces of paper.

Is that the reason why you recently worked on developing Caring Support's resume builder? Tell us about that process.

AB: Yes! So with the Caring Support platform in general, one thing we’ve been focusing on is taking the heavy weight off of the healthcare worker. I’ve job hunted before, and I know that it can be pretty much a full-time job, which it honestly should not be. Especially for the healthcare workers who are in such high demand, they should not be spending hours every day searching for jobs, applying, and writing cover letters. And one way we realized we could help is with the resume builder tool. 

I’ve created many resumes in my life, and it is never fun. Even updating my resume is something I dread. So we decided to make it easy. With the healthcare worker profile that already exists on the platform, we make it pretty straightforward to allow someone to show off their information and skills. And why would we make someone do that all again to create a resume when they’ve already written it all out once? We figured let’s take this information and put it into a simple pick-and-choose solution that you can go back to whenever you need to, it’s already nicely designed, you can pick your colour scheme, and automatically put it right on your profile for employers to see!

You also played an integral part in designing the Caring Support website and platform. What did you want to accomplish with this design?

AB: Yeah, so I designed both the website and platform. For both, I wanted to keep the user experience easy and straightforward to use. As I said before, I’ve had lots of experience going through the job hunting process, and it’s always so time-consuming as a candidate. It seems to always be: look through a bunch of job postings, click apply, fill out a bunch of answers to questions, upload a resume, and repeat over and over again. Why would you make someone repeat the same actions over and over again? Especially when we live in a technologically advanced world where that’s so not necessary and could be simplified.

On the other side of things from the recruiter's standpoint, it seems to always be: post a job, wait for candidates to come to you, and then sort through a bunch of resumes of candidates that aren’t qualified or right for the position you’re hiring for. As a recruiter, you know what you’re looking for, why not just use some filters to see the candidates you actually want, and you get way better candidates that way. I mean these are all reasons why we created the Caring Support platform in the first place, but obviously, the design is what people see and have to use, and so I basically had to take my own experience and everyone else’s on the team into account as to what we didn’t want and create a product design of what we thought would be a much better experience for everyone. 

Do you remember the process of choosing Caring Support's colour scheme and designing the brand's logo? What can you tell us about that?

AB: I do, and I was very excited about it. When we were creating Caring Support, I knew I would pretty much have full control over the brand design, the look and feel, etc, and I was excited that it wasn’t a 100% tech company or businessy business, if that makes sense. Our target audience is healthcare and we literally have "Care" in our name, so that’s what we want to get across to people. I always wanted to create or work with a brand that had pink or purple colours because those are not used very often in business, and this was the perfect opportunity. 

I had gone through brand designs and redesigns before, and in many companies I worked with, their brand colours were blue or green. In design, we follow something called colour theory, which is basically the science and art of colour. Each colour is perceived by people in a different way and invokes an emotion and communicates a message. That’s why most brands use green or blue, the colours of ambition, strength, growth, and money. Meanwhile pink and purple are warm and calming colours often associated with care and compassion, which seemed to fit perfectly.

Logo-wise, I believe Joe (Caring Support's founder and CEO) had an idea in his head about including a house. I had tried a few options of a house mixed with something else, and the thing that seemed to resonate with the team and stuck was the cross inside the house. The cross is most often associated with healthcare and the house gives the thought of home care. We wanted something simple. I think overall simplicity is what we were going for. Simplicity and change.

How much do you think your design has contributed to Caring Support's user-friendliness? 

AB: I would hope that it has contributed to it a lot. I have heard from many users that they enjoy using the platform for its ease of use which is exactly what we were going for so I’m happy about that. Sometimes I’ll go a while without going on the platform and then I’ll jump in it to see something and I’m like wow this is easy and not complicated and it makes me smile. And then I’ll hear from a client that they love how user-friendly it is and that makes me really happy because as I said that was and will always be our biggest focus.

What are your recommendations for healthcare workers who don't really care much for the way their resume looks and have never considered working on their professional brand as a way to become more attractive to employers?

AB: We live in a world where, unfortunately, first impressions are everything. You don’t necessarily need to have a good design eye to give a first impression on paper. Like we spoke about earlier, there are tools like our Resume Builder which make it super easy to create a beautiful resume in seconds. If that’s still not something you want to take advantage of, I would still say making your resume look at least a little bit visually appealing in the sense of sectioning things off is very important. Recruiters do not want to look at a giant block of text.

I think recruiters also want to see that you care enough to put in a bit of effort. That’s the other great thing about our platform is we’ve made it easy to just go through your profile and fill out the information. You’ll notice it is sectioned off nicely making it easy to do it section by section. If an employer comes across your profile, even if you don’t have a nice resume on your profile but you put in the 5, 10 minutes to fill in your information, they are way more likely to send you a message.

One last thing tip I guess is we live in a world of social media, and whether you think your social media is for personal use only, it’s out on the internet and recruiters nowadays know how to social stalk. I’m not saying don’t have fun and post about it, I’m saying be careful about what you post. I think we actually have an article written about this topic if anyone is interested in it. But yeah, just show that you care, and the favour will be returned in some way or another.

About the interviewee:

Anneka Burghout is the Director of Marketing at Caring Support. She is an accomplished graphic designer and marketing specialist who is always looking to help others succeed. She is an expert in brand development with a great track record of increasing exposure, sales, and revenue.

In her own words: "I was always a creative person, I took lots of art classes when I was younger, and found a passion for graphic design in high school. My first graphic design job was actually working for a couple of small startup companies, both headed up by our very own Joseph Jongsma. We had a digital media advertisement company, where I created all the video advertisements for companies, and then we had a 3D printing company where I came up with custom designs for companies wanting 3D printed products. That eventually took me to a bigger company, Zomaron - now known as Paystone, where I was part of the design team and then switched to doing the e-learning design, so creating the e-learning modules for new starts to the company.

"After that, I did some freelance work, which gave me the chance to do a variety of different projects which was a nice change. Joe and I always had a great relationship and kept in touch and I knew that he eventually wanted to start another company, so a couple of years ago he asked if I was still up for the challenge of helping to create Caring Support, and of course, I said yes!" she added.


We hope you enjoyed this conversation about design and the importance of making a good first impression when looking for a job or simply networking. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. And to learn more about Anneka, you can connect with her on Linkedin.

Thank you for reading!

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