Resume writing isnâ€™t what it used to be. Just look around. We are constantly being deluged with articles, videos, and books; all telling job applicants how to keep up with the Joneses. Itâ€™s not too much of a stretch to say that writing a resume has truly evolved into an art form. However, when you think about it, the basic concept hasnâ€™t changed. The name of the game is still to let everybody know how wonderful you are. What is changing is the technology. No longer are we limited to only one way of writing our resumes. The days of following the rules (ie; perfect margains, order of education and experience, etc) are over.
The question is, â€œAre the new alternatives better than the old-fashioned approach?â€ It depends. â€œAlternative resumesâ€ are certainly becoming increasingly popular and itâ€™s easy to see why. With so much competition out there, everyone is looking for that edge – something to set them apart and get them noticed.
But letâ€™s be careful too. Getting noticed can be a two-edged sword. Here are five of the newest approaches to resume-writing and some of the benefits and pitfalls of each:
Video resumes: These are essentially personalized commercials. The applicant provides an on-camera presentation about him/herself using some convenient form of digital media (DVD, internet download, etc).
- The employer can size up a jobseeker without taking the the time, energy, and expense of making a trip or flying the applicant in.
- Some employers see videos as a good way to assess a candidateâ€™s energy, attitude, and creativity.
- Many people now-a-days are visually-oriented. As such, they may be more likely to pay attention to a video resume than a written one.
- Many companies are equal opportunity employers. Seeing what an applicant looks like could potentially lead to bias regarding race, gender, age, etc., when making hiring decisions.
- Parsing information (for comparison purposes) from a visual resume can be a lot more work for a recruiter than from a text resume.
- A poorly recorded video (bad lighting, low-quality sound) can do a lot more harm than good.
Visual resumes: These are usually power-point (or equivalent) presentations. The presentations can be homemade or created via an online tool.
- â€œA picture is worth 1,000 words.â€ One slide can potentially convey more information than several words on paper could ever do.
- The applicant has the opportunity to present him/herself in the best light by producing a prepared, well-thought presentation.
- The presentation can be a great conversation-starter during the candidateâ€™s first interview.
- A quality presentation can be time-consuming to make and costly to produce.
- There is the potential for technical problems and/or platform incompatibility when incorporating video formats such as mp4, wmv, or flash.
- Applicants may need to continually revise their presentations to make them suitable for different employers.
Audio resumes: These are voice recordings using the jobseekerâ€™s actual voice. They can be done in either narrative format or by the applicant answering a set of pre-recorded questions.
- The applicant has the opportunity to showcase their communication skills and voice quality.
- The audio content can be scripted, rehearsed, tailored to fit the employment opportunity.
- The employer can assess the candidateâ€™s ability to be well-spoken. This showcases his potential for smoothly interacting with co-workers and/or customers on the job.
- For some jobs, your ability to speak well may not be a relevant factor in the selection process.
- There is a feeling among some that simply hearing a candidate speak doesnâ€™t add value to the resume. Their information could be communicated just as effectively (or more so) in a cover letter.
- An audio resume without a visual component may be perceived as incomplete.
Personal websites: A growing number of job applicants are creating custom landing pages on which they post personal information.
- A personal site gives a candidate an advantage over the competition when a potential employer â€œGooglesâ€ the candidateâ€™s name.
- A web presence is a way for jobseekers to communicate their personality, passion, and intellect in a way that a traditional resume can not.
- Websites can quickly lose their effectiveness if they are not updated regularly which requires the time of the applicant.
- Replacing a resume with a link to a website can be percieved as a sign that the applicant is reluctant to provide a foundation for a conversation.
Professional networks: Sites such as LinkedIn and the Behance Network are becoming increasingly popular venues for job applicants to post their professional profiles.
- LinkedIn and similar sites are often the first place potential employers will go to in order to find additional information about job applicants.
- Job seekers can build a large network and reach targets that they would not normally have interacted with.
- It is becoming expected that candidates post their professional profiles online.
- Users on network sites often become targets of spam, making the job searching process more cumbersome.
- Posting any personal information on networking sites incurs at least some loss of privacy.
Whatever method you choose for yourself, remember to be honest about your experience and highlight your strengths. Potential employers will always value someone who is geuinue and eager to work hard.
Brendan Cruickshank (Vice President of Client Services) – Brendan is a veteran of the online job search and recruiting industry, having spent the past 8 years in senior client services roles with major sites like Juju.com and JobsInTheMoney.com. He is quoted regularly as an expert in employment and jobs trends in major media outlets like the Washington Post, US News & World Report, and Forbes and has spoken at recruiting industry events such as Onrec and Kennedy Informationâ€™s Corporate Recruiting Conference.
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