Guest post by Thomas Wolff - It seems like every day there’s an article that comes out about how the traditional resume is becoming obsolete. In some industries, especially smaller technology start-ups, there is some truth to that. But for the vast majority of the working population who work in a mid- to large-sized company with a dedicated human resources team in place, the one- to two-page reverse chronological resume is still very much alive and will be for the foreseeable future.
Below are four trends that keep prompting people to predict the eventual death of the resume. I do my best to explain that even though all of these trends have merit, it’s not enough to kill off what has been the single most effective tool for telling prospective employers what you’ve done, and more importantly, what you can do for them.
Four trends that won’ be killing the resume any time soon
1) It’s all about social media. While it’s certainly true that social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are playing a much bigger role in the job search, we haven’t reached a tipping point where social media can be considered a replacement for a traditional resume. Recommendations on LinkedIn are a great way to establish credibility and build “social proof”, but LinkedIn and a resume serve two different purposes. Some job seekers are creating a “living resume” on Pinterest where they pin a visual representation their professional experience
2) Highly creative resumes are all the rage. Companies are seeing more and more professionally designed resumes that are more of a creative art piece rather than a Word document. Some of them definitely look cool and will stand out in a crowd of black and white text. The problem is that most of those resumes aren’t optimized for company’s applicant tracking systems (ATS) so they won’t get through the initial screening. Also, they can be incredibly difficult to navigate. While recruiters may be impressed with the way they look, they’ll quickly move on to the resumes they can actually read.
3) Recruiters will just Google you. At some point in the hiring process, yes, somebody will run a search for you online. The thing to remember is that this won’t happen until later in the process. Meaning, you have to first give them a reason to want to find out more about you. Most of the time, that reason will be because your resume grabbed their interest and now they want to investigate further.
4) Your blog is more important than your resume. Ask around your office and see how many people have and currently contribute to their own blogs. Chances are that fewer than one in ten actually have a blog that is relevant to their career. A blog can be a great tool to present your ideas about a certain topic and maybe even establish yourself as a thought leader, but the reality is that most people who work a full-time job don’t have the desire or time to dedicate to frequent blogging.
Plan your Web 2.0 strategy around your resume
Souped up content, flashy graphics, and lots of extraneous information won’t impress most hiring managers or recruiters regardless of how cutting-edge they are. They really want to know two things – are you going to help the company create revenue and/or are you going to save the company money. End of story.
There are literally hundreds of applicants for every one job posting. Resumes are the universal equalizer when it comes to the initial screening process. Make sure your resume does its job of telling the reader who you are, what is unique about your background and skill set, and how you can add value to an organization. A great social media presence or blog will have limited value if your resume doesn’t do its job of peaking the hiring manager’s interest at the beginning of the process.
How you choose to deliver the message isn’t as important as the message itself. Job seekers who want to stand out (and actually land a new gig) will supplement their strong resumes with great networking (online and in-person) and look for a variety of useful ways to showcase their experiences and accomplishments for their target audiences.
Thomas Wolff is an executive resume writer at Resume Mastermind. For the last nine years he has worked with clients all over the globe to help them communicate their value in the workplace. Questions or comments can be sent to thomas [at] resumemastermind.com