Thursday, June 13, 2013

Getting Results In The Jobs Market: The Modern Resume

MakeUseOf Newsletter

That little sheet of paper that you send off to potential employers? Yeah, it isn’t your resume. Nowadays, your resume is the entirety of your web presence.
To prove my point, let’s look at the original purpose of the resume. Essentially, it’s a tool that allows potential employers to learn more about you – someone who they wouldn’t otherwise know about. By handing in a resume, you’re effectively providing them with the information that they need in order to know  if they should hire you. References, work history, education – they wouldn’t know otherwise.
However, with websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, WordPress, and more, all an employer really has to do is type in your name. Honest. With LinkedIn, you have endorsements – something that was typically always achieved with references. As for Facebook, employers can get a snapshot of your personality through text updates and photos. With Twitter, they can see what parts of the industry that you are interested in. Meanwhile, Google gives a general history of your work-life, and WordPress serves as a decent portfolio.
Your resume? Well, it’s just a simple piece of paper, now.
This certainly isn’t to say that your resume no longer has a purpose. It most definitely does, my friend. Instead of serving as the all-around bio that gets you the job, it should serve as an attention-getter to make your future workplace want to know more.

Resume Tips – What You Shouldn’t Do

Before I begin, let me list the things you shouldn’t do with your resume. Once we cut off the fat, we can start cooking that juicy piece of resume steak.
  • Don’t use resume paper:it’s old-fashioned, and most documents are shared via PDF anyway
  • Don’t use serif fonts (unless it’s something standard like Times New Roman or Georgia): generally speaking, society is used to reading information on screens nowadays, so be nice and make things easy for your employer to view
  • Don’t be cute:lots of people have recently been trying to make their resumes unique or funny by adding in cartoons, jokes, crafts, etc. – just don’t
  • Don’t try to impress: let your work be impressive all on its own
  • Don’t fit your life story on one page:your life story is probably pretty boring, anyway
There are probably a slew of other “don’ts”, but it’s almost impossible to list them all. I could get specific with things like “don’t put a picture of a drunken goat on your resume,” but I’d say that’s a little too obvious. For items that I did not list, I will say this: if you feel like you shouldn’t do something, you probably shouldn’t do it.

The Resume’s Purpose In The 21st Century

resume tips
We’ve established that nearly all aspects of your resume are already accessible online. With that said, you should start looking at your resume as a way to complement your work rather than present it. Chances are that – if they had time to look, of course – your potential employer may already know a bit about you before they even look at your resume.
With that said, I’d liken the modern resume to a table of contents for a big book. Instead of serving as the only means to showcase your skills and talents, it’s actually a cheat sheet to provide your employer quick access to knowing what you’re all about. The Internet provides more detailed information that shows what you can do while the resume merely tells what you can do.

What Should Be On A Perfect Resume

resume samples
There’s really no secret tip for providing the perfect resume. So many people will tell you, “If such-and-such is on there, then the employer will trash it!” and then another person will say, “If same-such-and-such isn’t on there, then the employer will trash it!”
You really can’t win.
Let’s go over the basics: education, experience, and skills.This is the core of the modern resume. While there are other things like your contact info, your bio, and your objective, these three elements will almost always remain the same.
So there you go – that’s what should be on your resume. How you format it is really up to you, but I will say try to make it as crisp and clean as possible. We’re a fast-paced society, and while supposedly there’s the whole “employers will only spend six seconds looking at your resume” thing, I will say that people are all different.
Some employers may spend six seconds. Others may spend six minutes. However, at any rate, don’t waste their time with wordiness and elaborate explanations of what you do. Keep it simple.

How Your Online Profiles Fit Into This

resume tips
So your future employer has the cheat sheet. Make sure all of your online profiles can back it up. While your resume may not be the time to show off, all of your online profiles are a good way to showcase who you are. With that said, clean up your social profiles and make sure your personal website is up to par.
To sum up the modern resume, consider this analogy. Your resume is your home page, and each tidbit of information is a link to other aspects of your life. While in the past, employers could only go off on what you included in the piece of paper and the interview, nowadays they can pull up anything and everything for verification.
With that said, when making your resume, don’t just make your resume.
What other resume tips do you have for other readers looking to create a modern resume? Do you believe that the purpose of the resume has changed?

Joshua Lockhart

Joshua Lockhart is an okay web video producer and a slightly above mediocre writer of online content. You can fawn over his work here: