This month’s Emerging Leaders Network peer resume review got me thinking…just what are resumes supposed to look like these days? You should know this first: the last time I applied for a job, applicants were still expected to mail resumes (Yeah, you heard me. Through the Post Office.) on fancy resume paper. There wasn’t a lot of room for creativity.
I have a hunch that the rules may have changed in the last six years. Additionally, with the rise of social media and the decline of more rigid communications styles, the rules seem even murkier. Of course, there’s still a lot of debate, and you should tailor your resume to your experience and the job you’re applying for. But here are some trends to keep in mind and creative ideas to try.
Your resume is now just one piece of the puzzle. Compared to five years ago, the application process is less about your resume and more about your brand. You’d better count on potential employers Googling you before, during, and after the interview process, so what are they finding? And no, I’m not talking about those scandalous pictures you put on Facebook (hopefully you’ve taken care of those already). I’m talking about the package. If you’re on LinkedIn and Twitter, they should be beefed up to reflect your interests, skills, and smarts. Do you have a personal website yet? Does it concisely show what you’ve done, what you’re involved in, and what you have to say? For a lot of employers, the online stuff shows who you are just as clearly— and maybe even more clearly—than a list of your past five jobs. You should control what they’re seeing and make sure it’s the best version of you—the writer, the volunteer, the communicator, or the active citizen.
Ditch the one-page rule. According to Brazen Life (a great resource for job searchers during the online age) you should seriously reconsider the rule that says resumes should only be one page. Think about it this way: do you really think an extra page of information is going to make or break you? If you use the space wisely—to describe your accomplishments or better paint a picture of you as an ideal employee—then go for it. But of course, the key word here is wisely.
Have multiple resumes. Regardless of what it looks like, you should always tailor your resume for each job and employer. Your resume for a major gifts position will look different than that of an advocate. And you’ll probably need a more traditional resume for certain jobs anyway. But what about making a resume that’s a little bit more creative (without being too crazy) and perfect for sharing on social media? Visualize.me creates a free—and very cool-looking—infographic based on the information on your LinkedIn profile. You can then share it on tons of social networks, embed it on your blog or personal website, or even put it on a t-shirt. Not creative enough? Try one of these insanely creative resume styles.
Think outside the box. There are lots of stories out there about the crazy stunts people have pulled to land a job. And while you might not be up for painting your resume on your body and running naked through downtown Minneapolis, think about how new online outlets could show off your professional experience in unique ways. Why not create Pinterest boards for your work experience, awards, and accomplishments? Or what about a Facebook ad? You just never know.
What’s your resume look like these days and what has your job search experience been? Have you done something that breaks the mold or do you believe the traditional resume still rules the job search?