Is the resume dead? That’s the magic question many job seekers are asking these days. In fact, the resume couldn’t be more alive, even with the rise of online digital profiles - such as LinkedIn. With the popularity of professional social media profiles within the career industry, resumes are no longer the only document used to qualify a person for a job. LinkedIn, and other social media channels, are often referenced in combination with resumes to qualify a person by skills, and also by personality, credibility, professional behavior, and network connections.
For many years, the resume has been a companion piece to job seekers. This cleverly crafted piece of paper - or two - has been used to concisely and professionally describe applicants' best accomplishments and talents to potential employers. However, the contraints of the resume format has earned it a reputation for being too stiff and and offering too little insight into the applicant's personality. The availability of social media and digital profiles used everywhere, and by nearly everyone, has opened up an opportunity for job seekers to use their resumes to play a key role in their job search efforts. As a key addition to the descriptive and colorful online data available on social media platforms, resumes act a a tool to focus attention on specific skills and highlight relevant experience.
The resume still provides job seekers the ability to focus their intent without confusing potential employers. While digital profiles are easier to access and offer personality, they can often portray a ‘general’ feel and look, which doesn’t exactly provide recruiters or hiring managers with the main focus they’d like to see. That’s why it’s important that resumes work in conjunction with digital profiles. It’s the key to making sense of those digital profiles.
Check out these 5 ways you can use your resume and digital profiles effectively and in tandem.
#1 Expand Upon Resume Content
A resume layout is designed to communicate your key skills and experience to potential employers looking to fill positions requiring specific abilities. These business documents are written in a concise, tight manner, and focus primarily on key information that highlights achievements and accomplishments, matching key words selected from relevant job descriptions. Traditionally, resume content is brief, stiff, and without personality or additional context.
That’s where digital profiles come in and aid the resume content. Using your online digital profile(s), you can totally expand upon those achievements and accomplishments, even telling a story and, at times, using casual language instead of the stiff language often found in resumes. Your digital profile is the perfect venue to include all the details describing what you achieved for a past employer.
For example, if one of your resume accomplishments briefly mentions that you led a large team of fifty members, you can go into further detail in your online profile. Explain the trials that you faced with the team, and describe what you did to overcome them. Write up the final result in full detail to paint a picture in your reader’s mind. This is a great opportunity to incorporate some of your personality into your writing.
#2 Use Casual Writing to Convey Your Personality
Using an informal tone is probably the worst mistake people make when preparing a resume. Not only does the document sound unprofessional, but it can come across as lazy wording to the employer. However, for many social media profiles, informal or casual speak, and even playful wording are widely accepted! Companies have become adept at looking at digital profiles to determine if you’re a good match with their style, and if you have the potential to be a good match and a valuable asset to their business.
Strong examples of this would be the “Dollar Shave Club” (An online razor purchase club with a very punchy, often blunt personality) or “Too Faced” (A cosmetics retailer with a cutesy, very feminine, youthful personality). These companies have very different personalities and often use a loose, casual tone. When applying to these companies, be aware of their personality and try to match their tone in your communications.
Of course, applying to any company does require a strong, formal resume. But your social profiles should aid your resume by highlighting your personality. Keep in mind, however, despite how casual you can be on social media, don’t go overboard. Cursing (unless that’s the company you’re trying to attract) shouldn’t be used, but also avoid wild party photos and obscure videos. These are generally not considered "casual" as much as inappropriate and immature.
Moreover, if you’re aiming to join professional companies often in the B2B sector, you’ll want to utilize a professional, formal tone speak, just don’t speak as stiff as you would on a resume. Use a little casual speak here and there, just to show some personality.
#3 Backup Achievements and Accomplishments
Nothing makes a resume glow like top achievements, quality talents, and extensive expertise. Always highlight the best points in your career for potential employers to see. Of course, while your unique skills and expertise look good on your resume, they'll carry more weight if you back them up with some online credibility.
The best place to explain the relevance of your talents is through your digital profiles. For instance, let’s say you put on your marketing resume that you have experience in driving growth, ROI, and marketing campaigns. Great! Now, imagine how much more excited an employer would be if they checked your LinkedIn profile to find that you’ve been endorsed by other people for those skills. This tells employers you know what you’re talking about and can back it up.
Another feature of your online profile is the ability to display testimonials or recommendations, and your current interests. Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect for gathering testimonials that can be displayed directly on your profile. Using your digital profiles often to share content that’s relevant to your career focus, also gives you bonus points with potential employers. They weigh recent activity and credibility heavily in their selection processes.
#4 You Have Unlimited Space to Use
One of the primary complaints with resumes is the length restrictions, as resumes often are restricted two pages of content - max. In some careers, the length can be stretched to three pages to encompass all the applicant's relevant information. There is also curriculum vitae (CVs), but those documents are often restricted to professionals such as doctors, professors, and scientists.
Your online digital profiles can be a vehicle for expanding upon critical areas of your resume and providing additional information. For instance, let’s say you have to cut one of your job experiences short, and you’re limited to only the most pertinent information in your resume that matches your career focus. Use your LinkedIn profile to expand upon this information for up to 2,000 characters in each job description.
Your digital profiles are a good way to show your depth of experience, as you can even go further back than you can on your resume, which typically is limited to only the past 15 to 20 years. The one downside to this is that recently, LinkedIn recommends that ‘less is more’ on your profile job history, so keep that in mind and avoid going too far back in your experience!
Another way to expand upon your resume content using your digital profile is to showcase your portfolio. Graphic designers and artists can make use of Pinterest or Instagram to display their artwork and use a link to redirect back to their primary website portfolio. This is also a hot place for chefs or those in the culinary industry to showcase their talents. Writers can link to their blog and thought leaders can provide links to podcasts or YouTube videos.
LinkedIn is also a perfect venue for portfolio work, and is used by the majority of artistic and non-artistic positions to provide additional substance to their resumes.
#5 Provide References
In today’s resume format, references no longer need to be included at the end of the document. Professional resume writers will suggest that clients use a separate paper with a similar header as the resume that contains reference information. It’s important to provide your employer with contacts, so they can reach out to them to get information on you, but only provide references when requested.
However, the rise of social media and digital profiles has changed the game on references. In fact, references can now be added to your online profiles. People or contacts that provide testimonials are sometimes viewed as references. The “Connections” section in your LinkedIn profile also serves as references and often can be seen as solid credibility, especially if your contacts are well-known or famous within your industry.
The resume will always be stiff and may never have too much flexibility, but that’s why digital profiles work together with these professional documents. More employers use digital profiles as a means of judging and qualifying a prospect for a job, but the resume will forever be a staple in the career world.