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Update #2: The Mullet Resume: Business up front, party in the back.

The Mullet Resume is a new way to show an individual’s creative potential as well as their professional and academic achievements on a single 8.5x11 sheet of paper. This idea started in Design Thinking at Cornell for students everywhere

Photo of Josh Lapray
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UPDATE: What will the future look like with this idea in it, and how can we make this a stickier idea?

We’ve broadened how we envision the Mullet Resume thanks to the comments and inspirations from: Jason, Vicki, Kamal, Erin, Andy, Elaine, Meena, Priyanka, Radhika, Michael, Stuart, Saskia, Bettina, Hao, Jeff, Mandy, Luisa, Alaine, Shane, Brad and Arpin. Many of you have even created mullet resumes already. Thank you for the input, and keep the creative ideas flowing!

In the refining process, we’ve realized that the mullet resume doesn’t necessarily need to be bullet points on once side and traditional art on the other. Some companies and schools (like Cornell or UT Austin) even limit your resume to a strict standardized format. The Mullet is more about being bold in expressing who you are to employers and organizations, having a fast way to describe yourself, and being as creative as possible with the space you have available.

Where can I put my mullet?

So far, there have been a few suggestions of where to create your mullet resume. Your mullet should go wherever best accommodates your own style and the person receiving your mullet. Some suggestions have been:

On the back of your resume, an additional page in a PDF, a link to a website, audio or video file, a few lines of text that describe your creativity, an attached media file, back of a business card, portfolio on LinkedIn, image on the front, overlapping transparencies, a creative use of formatting or even a unique style of cover letter writing.

What medium works best for a mullet?

Again, we’ve been amazed with the great ideas that everyone’s submitted for creatingtheir own mullet resumes. A few ideas to get you inspired:

A video (your 30 second pitch), song, photography, story (how I survived Cambodia on $200?), graffiti, blog post, speech, improv performance, TV appearance, website, recipe, illustration, painting, anything really!

Have fun with it, use whatever best displays your own creativity and fits your situation, then please share with us and inspire everyone else! The end goal is that we create a new standard that motivates young people to focus on their creativity and use it as a way to express who they are.

We’ll post links below to your mullets and others who’ve helped inspire this idea.

Luisa Corvaria and Vicki Tan pointed out some great pioneers in Mullet Resumes:

Here are other mullets that we’ve created:

UPDATE: How does this idea enable young people to harness and direct their own creative skills, rather than having someone else do it for them?

The Mullet Resume, like a traditional resume, is intrinsically personal. The creation of a Mullet Resume is an individual process designed to reflect the fun, creative, and unique sides of a person, and cannot be externally constructed. That being said, Mullet Resume workshops will be designed to have students interact with one another during the development process, with the purpose of sharing inspiration and development processes.

UPDATE: How does this idea reach a diverse population of young people?

Designed as a truly grassroots movement, the Mullet Resume does not require any financial resources to allow it to spread quickly and involve a broad group of young people. Virtually any student applying to a college or job will need to construct a resume, so the potential Mullet “market” is vast. To allow the Mullet to spread to other cultures, where the hairstyle may have different meanings, we hope you can help us metaphors for the same concept – the integration of a person’s professional and fun sides – and use that terminology or reference to promote the double-sided resume. 

In your culture/language what would you call it? Mullet Resume? Peacock resume? Another name?


Have you ever found it difficult to describe who you are through a resume?

We spoke with students across Cornell University to discover what inhibits their creative confidence. Overwhelmingly we found that students are abandoning their creative abilities to focus entirely on the analytical skills that they believe are most valued by employers. However every student we interviewed agreed that this same creativity that they were increasingly neglecting is also a major component to their identity, and one of their greatest sources of happiness.

We found that constraints of a standard resume reinforce this misconception among students and weaken their creative confidence by limiting them to expressing who they are through text and bullet points. We believe both students and employers miss out on sharing and identifying creative talent, which is crucial to a successful career in any field.

Our idea is to take a weird 80’s hairstyle and use it to revolutionize the resume. We believe that individuals need to feel confident being professional, creative and fun in the workplace, and companies throughout all industries need employees who can leverage their own creative ability to solve problems and make the world a more enjoyable place to work.

How exactly?

We want to transform the back of the resume into a blank canvas where anyone can express his or her creative identity to future employers. This is the “Mullet Resume”.

In this challenge, we want to create ideas with young people, not for them. Outline how you’re planning to involve young people or other end-users (parents, teachers, etc) in designing, iterating or testing your idea during the Ideas phase.

Students should feel encouraged and empowered to show their creativity to their future employers. In order to unleash their “inner mullet” we’re planning on creating workshops run by students who have experience building their own creative portfolios of designs and artwork, (like architecture, music, or fine art students) and having them inspire students in less artistic schools (such as business and engineering) to prepare a mullet resume to share with employers. We’ve even arranged for Sirietta Simoncini, a professor at Cornell, to teach the class “Mullet 101”

We hope that we can quickly spread this new idea to other universities and engage young people around the world to be confident and take pride in both their academic and creative accomplishments.

How might you envision your idea spreading across geographies or cultures so that it inspires young people around the world to cultivate their creative confidence?

Ideally to make this happen we need the support of companies, recruiters, and HR departments! With the support of inspirational employers encouraging students to submit optional mullet resumes, this idea could quickly scale and spread across the world. The students we met mentioned they would be eager to work for a company that fostered this type of creative confidence.

This idea is unique in that it doesn’t require an investment, or funding, or a long construction project. It only requires inspiring and forward thinking companies to encourage students to express their creativity in the application process. Many online application systems are already “mullet friendly”. For the rest, all it takes is an email address or a postage stamp.

We’ve found that this idea could be easily adaptable. Some students expressed interest in drawing, painting, digital, while others wanted to include a recipe on the back of their resume! We hope the great people of Open IDEO join in to help us develop the idea and make this happen!
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Team (7)

Josh's profile
Tracy's profile
Tracy Brandenburg

Role added on team:

"Tracy is an inspirational Design Thinking coach. She contributes ideas, pipe cleaners, pep talks and pancakes."

Raul's profile
Raul Valdes

Role added on team:

"Raul has been contributing to the mullet since post-it #1, he can approach anyone get them hooked on the Mullet idea"

Emily 's profile
Mandy's profile
Sirietta's profile
Sirietta Simoncini

Role added on team:

"Esteemed professor of Mullet 101 at Cornell University"

Vicki's profile
Vicki Tan

Role added on team:

"Great perspective from People Operations at Google!"


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tiara Smith

I love this idea. I have never used IDEO before. What would I do if I wanted to join the challenge?

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