Why create a resume?

Networking, having an online presence and building a personal brand can definitely increase one’s chances of landing their dream job. Then why do we need a resume? Are they still relevant?

To understand why they’re still around, we need to understand their purpose.

Why exactly do we need a resume?

  • It’s a quick way to assess whether someone wants to spend time speaking to you. Almost synonymous to a dating profile - it’s only a starting point, but doesn’t guarantee a date. Similarly, a resume won’t guarantee you a job, but it’ll help open a few doors. The purpose of your resume is to get the conversation started.

  • A resume is used to assess the hiring manager’s question “How relevant is this person for this role?”. When a hiring manager publishes a job opening, how many applications do you think they get on an average? 100? 200? 500? Sometimes even more! Make it easier for them to see why you’re right for the job. Your resume is a neat way to showcase all the relevant things you’ve done in one place, tailored to the role.

  • More often than not, there would be more than one person involved in the hiring process. Here’s where resumes come in handy - they’re bite-sized, concise write-ups which can be easily shared among the hiring team.

  • It aids your thinking process while applying. Writing your resume can give you clarity by revisiting your past experiences and understanding how your skills fit into the role you are applying for.

Why can’t I just show my portfolio? Won’t that be better?

Yes, showing your portfolio is definitely an option. But you don’t have to choose one over the other. Resume and portfolio serve similar but slightly different purposes.

Look at it this way. The resume is a cover page/table of contents for your portfolio. Resume tells you what you can expect from the detailed portfolio. So in a way, they go hand-in-hand.

Your resume could even go beyond your portfolio. It gives you the space to mention certain points that may not necessarily be a part of your portfolio but important for the job you’re applying for.

Experience and skill feeding into the resume Let your resume do the talking

How about my LinkedIn profile? Isn’t that sufficient?

Your LinkedIn profile and resume aren’t radically different. There could be a large overlap between the two. The key difference is customization. Your LinkedIn profile is great for networking, showcasing your experiences and creating a strong professional brand online on a regular basis.

But when you’re actively seeking out a role, it helps to be more specific. Your resume is a fluid, dynamic document that is modified as per your application. Every role is different with different requirements. Making sure relevant information is highlighted will give you a better chance of getting shortlisted for an interview.

But as they say, people contain multitudes. So how can one possibly fit everything in a single page?

That’s the trick. You don’t have to. Resumes don’t tell the entire story but are enough to pique the interest of the hiring manager. Resumes ought to be customized for the specific role you’re applying for, so don’t overload it with a ton of content.

Resumes are evolving; not dying

Companies are increasingly using sophisticated ways to shortlist candidates. Resume is just one of them. While the hiring methods are evolving, we also see resumes trends evolving.

Keyword optimized for ATS The buzzword in the recruitment industry is ATS, short for Applicant Tracking Systems. Most of the large companies use these systems to manage and track applications. Many candidates optimize their content with keywords in line with the job description of the role they are applying for. But keywords without proper context can be jarring. At the end of the day, your resume would be viewed by a human. The best resumes use keywords in line with the job description, while still keeping it relevant to their experience.

Resume designs that stand out Simple elements like colours, typography and consistent alignment play a huge role in making or breaking a resume. Having a clear visual hierarchy and white space helps highlight the relevant experiences and skills. This makes the resume skimmable.

Highly curated Having different versions for different applications can make your resume more effective. Hiring managers love to receive customized resumes that directly address the role they are hiring for. You could use the company's brand colours in your resume to attract the hiring manager’s attention or have use your own personal brand colour to stand out.

Bringing out your personality Authenticity is always in fashion. The tone and choice of your words can help you set yourself apart. You could even give more information about your interests, volunteering work

Resumes are an important part of the active job hunt plan. When used right, they can be a powerful tool to further your career.