Thursday, December 12, 2013

Exploring the 21st Century Resume

 I recently read an article from the September 2013 edition of the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) Journal titled “Championing the 21st Century Resume.” The title alone caught my eye since I have seen an increasing amount of stories where applicants have used non-traditional methods to apply for a position and have been successful. Most recently, I came across this article from the Daily Muse, which showcased how one applicant used the presentation tool Slide Rocket along side a traditional resume and cover letter to demonstrate her creatively and ideas for a start-up company. 

For me, the NACE article really helped to shed more light on the question of the “modern resume.” One thing the article made clear was that a non-traditional resume doesn’t work for every position or organization.  Before considering using a non-traditional resume, make sure you know your audience. In addition to looking at the company website, you can look at employee bios and company profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media to get a sense of the culture. After doing research, if you feel the employer would not understand or appreciate a "21st century" resume, then go with your gut and take the more traditional route. I do believe that it is important to include your LinkedIn URL and any other relevant websites on the resume no matter what format you choose to use.  

That being said, if you feel a non-traditional resume is the way to go, below is an excerpt from the article that outlines what a 21st century resume is.

So What Is a 21st Century Resume Anyway?
A 21st century resume is hyperlinked and active, unique and personal, and eye-catching. It may contain these elements:
   Color jumps off the page and can be as simple as a header, an underline, or highlighted text.
   Graphics can convey tone, humor, and skill, as well as add to personal branding.
   Unique fonts can help the information stand out from the crowd.
   Text boxes can be a great way to highlight a lot of information in an attractive way, for example, long lists of software.
   Columns are a simple trick to break the full-page one-column monotony.
   Personal traits can show employers more than the flat one-dimensional picture.
   Style related to a specific industry will highlight a deep understanding and ability to tailor a message.
   Social media shows creative thinking and demonstrates social media fluency.

Hyperlinks are critical to the 21st century resume. Think about the unlimited potential of links on a student resume:
   Business or marketing major: Link to a sample business or marketing plan.
   Computer sciences major: Link to his or her open-source coding projects.
   Engineering major: Link to a prizewinning robotics team design and video.
   English major: Link to his or her blog or website with writing samples.
   Fashion design major: Link to a Pinterest content sharing page to showcase designs and influences.
   Graphic design major: Link to his or her online portfolio.
   Film/video major: Link to a demo reel, YouTube channel, or website.

Since many employers now rely on LinkedIn profiles to get more information about a potential employee, all majors can be encouraged to create and expand their LinkedIn profiles and link to them in their e-mail signatures and on their resumes. The LinkedIn format allows students to show off their skills, honors, awards, connections, projects, recommendations, portfolio samples, and more.

Two examples of 21st century resumes that were successful:

An English major landed a highly competitive job at Seventeen magazine with a resume designed to look like the magazine's cover style.

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A software engineering major used a clever timeline combined with a touch of humor to garner interviews with quirky start-ups. 

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Kaitlyn Riley, Assistant Director

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