Why The Traditional Resume Is On Its Way Out

And what the “personal branding” trend means for job seekers

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Does anyone even read your resume?

Everyone says that the best time to look for a new job is while you still have your current job. It takes some of the pressure off; you can apply casually or you can send your resume en masse and wait for a hiring manager to get in touch. But it’s not always so simple. Anyone who has looked for a job before knows how hard it can be to get their resume in front of a set of human eyes.

And worse: if your resume ever makes it past the applicant tracking system’s filters and into the hands of a recruiter or a hiring manager, data suggests that they will spend an average of 6 seconds looking at it before deciding whether to keep it or toss it.

Yes — six seconds.

A recent survey of over 3,000 job seekers found that 85% of them had gotten their current job through networking, not through blindly submitting resumes and hoping that someone would read them.

What is the purpose of a resume?

Resumes tell potential employers what you have done in the past, and allow them to speculate about what you could accomplish in the future. If you’re lucky enough to put your resume directly into the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager, bypassing any screening systems, you have a unique opportunity to showcase your potential and to make a unique first impression.

But still — this is assuming you get your resume into the hands of an actual human being.

If you do, the traditional black-and-white Times New Roman resume is probably not going to wow anyone, especially if they just glance over it quickly. A bolder, more creative resume can, at the very least, catch someone’s eye and encourage them to spend more than just a few seconds looking it over.

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Google results for “creative resumes” — April 20, 2019

The traditional resume is on its way out.

Enter: the portfolio and the modern resume. Personal branding is not just for millennials, and it’s not just for creatives. It’s for everyone.

Hiring managers agree; a well-designed resume will stand out, even in fields that are not traditionally creative. The time and energy that you devote to styling your resume can help you make a solid first impression, as long as you don’t “act like a clown” (their words, not mine).

It’s worth noting that in certain circumstances, your resume will not be the way you get your foot in the door.

Research suggests that you’re more likely to get your next job through your current connections; only 15% of openings are filled via job boards. This means that your personal brand is worth more than your resume spamming habit. Don’t underestimate the power of making connections.

Sometimes, a resume is just a formality.

Recruiters and hiring managers often find candidates on LinkedIn — via their profiles, not the job boards. Some companies even accept a LinkedIn profile in lieu of a resume. LinkedIn’s one-click apply feature doesn’t even require a resume.

Other companies set up interviews with candidates based on their portfolios or other professional profiles, and only ask for a copy of their resume to keep on file, or to use during the interview as a “cheat sheet”.

When it comes to the resumes of the future, candidates have two choices:

  1. Invest time in making a resume that is bold and that will stand out; or
  2. Invest time in establishing their personal brand, making their resume a smaller piece of the puzzle.

How did you get your last job? Share in the comments.

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Written by

✨ serial questioner • technical writer/devops • editor of Diary of an SRE • thank you for connecting 👩🏻‍💻 kerisavoca.com

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