As we continue examining the Digital Footprint, we’d like to take a look at one of the most important elements a job-seeker has at his or her disposal: the 21st Century Resume.
All job seekers need a well-crafted resume that highlights their skills, experience and aptness for the position they are applying for. It is something we get told time and time again. But as we progress through the digital age, the standard resume Word document formats to which we default seem to be falling out of fashion through extensive overuse. Technological advances are shifting the way we search and apply for jobs and, inevitably, your typical resume is bound to become an obsolete novelty.
But how does one overcome this digital reform? By working with it, of course.
Modernizing is the way to make all resumes stand out. From the creation of mobile friendly cover letters and CVs to making the use of mobile apps and online resources to craft and recount or career path and goals to prospective employers.
Here is a look at how to use technology to create an optimized 21st Century resume that is bound to impress a recruiter.
A move towards creative visual designs
Stand out from the pile of Word documents on the recruiter’s desk by creating your own visual brand. You don’t have to use expensive editing software, and there’s no need for incredible graphic design abilities when it comes to designing a modern 21st-century resume. All you need is an idea of how to best present your skills in an eye-catching visual manner, and a little bit of creative disposition.
Take a look at Pinterest for some design inspiration. Once you get an idea of how you want to present your 21st-century resume, you can use free image editing services like Ribbet or Picmonkey to make your vision a reality.
For those who still want to retain some traditional aspects, or still find the idea of creating a design too daunting, a resume builder is the way to go. Some naysayers will argue recruiters can spot template-built resumes from a mile away, but as long as you customize the given templates well, the result can be come across as elegant and professional.
A quick tip: it’s best to have multiple versions of your resume. A visually appealing resume is great in some occasions, but in others you may need to move towards something more simplistic. An example of this is when you are creating a cover letter and CV with the intention of making it easy to read on a mobile device.
Making layouts mobile friendly
This is actually quite simple to do. A mobile friendly resume needs to be easy to download and read on a small screen, so simplicity needs to be your key priority. Some rules to follow include keeping everything to a single column, using a single font and making size variations to differentiate content, while keeping extra lines, images and colors to a minimum.
Mobile resumes need to be simplistic, of course, but also shareable. Find a way to save your mobile cover letter and CV online, so recruiters can readily access them. A way to do this is to create an online portfolio and include it in your email signature.
Also note: there is no way of predicting which platform your recruiter will choose to open your resume, so it’s always a good idea to send a normal version in addition to the mobile version, just in case.
All about the written content
Obviously, all of this is nothing without content that makes your skills shine through.
Sometimes, finding the right words to sell yourself to prospective employers can be a trying feat. If you want a quick solution to writer’s block, use a resume builder to help you flesh out the bullet points that you’d like to include for each of your previous roles. The Resume Genius Free Builder, for instance, lets you generate and export these bullet points when you type out the descriptions related to your previous jobs and responsibilities.
And then, there is the issue of keywords within a job description. We don’t need to tell you these make or break a job application. A good way of finding the best keywords to use in your 21st Century resume is to take the job description and input it into a word cloud generator like Wordle. Look for the largest words in the cloud, and make sure to include them.
Also, watch your wording. Keep language simple, formal, and appropriate. Opt for action verbs rather than passive, and use a thesaurus to help you describe things in a more impressive manner if appropriate.
Once you have inserted all the right keywords, while paying good attention to your sentence structures, check if your resume is both relevant to the job and easy to read. Using digital tools to harness feedback is a great way to find out whether you have successfully created a document that clearly presents your professional abilities. Here are some ways to approach this:
- Use a tool like Jobscan to check if your resume fully matches the job description.
- If you need extra peace of mind, try running your resume through Rezscore too. It will give you a breakdown of how your resume scores in terms of effectiveness.
- Use the Hemingway Editor app to determine whether your writing is easy enough to read.
- Reach out for feedback on social media. Not just through your typical platforms, but through anonymous forums like Reddit too – just make sure to blur out any personal details you have in your resume if you choose to crowdsource feedback in this manner.
Other tech-savvy resume ideas
Where appropriate, include a link to your social media and networking profiles along with your contact details. This is not limited to LinkedIn – including a link to your Twitter profile, Google+ account or your personal blog can help recruiter get better insight about you and your skills. Just use a bit of common sense about which platforms to include, making sure there is nothing recruiters can see which could jeopardize their perceptions of you as a working professional.
Ever thought about incorporating a QR code into your resume? You can use these in many creative ways. For instance, a scannable QR code can direct employers to your own personal website, or to embedded videos of your personal references. There are plenty of free online tools out there to create these QR codes, making them easy to incorporate into your resume.
Make use of graphs when highlighting your skills. You can use these as a quick visual guide to your levels of technical skills across different areas. Or, use graphic timelines to highlight your work experience and lead readers through different job positions you believe should receive greater focus.
These are just some ideas you can use to optimize—and modernize—the most traditional of job search documents. With all the amazing technology available to us, there is no excuse for keeping yourself out of the loop. Make a move towards modernity, and leave a lasting impression.