The Computer Merchant, Ltd. (Frank Anigbo)
A colleague recently sent out an email with an attached jobseeker resume that, to say the least, is quite different from anything any of us have ever seen.
I assumed it was someone’s idea of a joke because the resume format is just too wacky to be taken seriously.
It was animated – think early 1980s Atari type of video game animation, and displayed points-like graphics to represent each of the jobseeker’s strengths.
To my eyes, it required too much mental effort to decipher what the writer was trying to communicate and it is this basic requirement of a resume that made it a big (if entertaining) fail.
But it got us thinking: what lies in the future for the resume? What might a perfect resume structure and content look like?
Before we gaze into our crystal ball and predict what the future holds for the resume, we will first offer our expert opinion on factors that will drive this future.
Recruiting Methodologies and Tools Will Drive the Structure of Your Career Story
Resumes exist to tell the world your career story. The only reason you create a resume is to increase your prospects of furthering that career story. It makes sense then that the people who will match you, the job seeker, to prospective employers will have a heavy hand in shaping how your career story is told.
Recruiters are the essential conduits between job seekers and hiring managers. The recruiter’s job is to gather the resumes of likely candidates for an open position and filter it down to a manageable number of the most qualified people. The recruiter relies on specialized candidate sourcing software that gathers, reads and presents resumes that are a likely match for the position to be filled. It is this culled down list of resumes that are further vetted and distilled even further before the final few are sent on to the hiring manager for consideration.
What if your resume is written in such a way that the software that aggregates resumes could not make heads or tails of it? Think of it like this, if your resume is a video file that cannot be read by a machine and broken down into its essential parts (work experience, education, etc.) then that machine cannot pass on your resume to the recruiter who relies on machine-parsed resumes. Likewise, if you choose to write a novel that represents what you’ve done rather than follow an accepted resume presentation format, you’ve got the same problem and will likely be skipped.
The bottom line is that the ability of recruiters to work with resumes will direct the future of resumes or whatever they are called in the future.
The Resume of the Future
Given that the way recruiters work help shape what resumes look like, we are in a very good position to make the following predictions.
- The resume of the future will be short (single page) and highly targeted to a specialty rather than be a list of unrelated jobs you did since high school. The key words here are relevancy, currency and experience.
- Since the point of a resume is to communicate what you have done so as to inform a potential employer of what you can do, the message needs to be straightforward and comprehensible. If you make yourself difficult to understand, you will be passed by.
- Just as you don’t want to ramble on and risk losing your audience with boring and irrelevant details, you must avoid hurting their eyes or insulting their sense of balance by getting carried away with fonts and splashes of color. When it comes to font and color, be boring and simple.
- While we think future resumes will (and should) be short and to the point, there are a number of key things they need to contain in addition to your career story, such as education (one line and short!), skills, citizenship/authorization to work in the US (until such a time as no one cares where you’re from).
- We imagine a world where online environments will apply a great deal of intelligence in accurately categorizing and ranking what I will now call Career Profiles (instead of the traditional sense of the resume) so that recruiters can quickly zero in on the candidates they are looking for. Nobody wants to wade through a dozen irrelevant resumes to find the few that match an active need. The issue that has to be resolved before this future takes hold is that of privacy. LinkedIn is so far too public a platform but a good start. Publishing a resume full of information about your current company (I increased revenue from a paltry $3 to $5.99, etc.) that can be used by competitors is a bad idea so perhaps the resume of the future will anonymize that level of detail on a public platform like LinkedIn.
- Final prediction – the resume isn’t going to die anytime soon. Companies will continue to need a simple but effective way to find the people they need by culling down applicants to a manageable number. That is what the resume was invented to do and it still does it well.
But what about the video resume? Surely that will gain major traction because they’re just so cool.
The video resume is a passing trend for a number of important reasons, one of which is that it breaks a fundamental function of an effective resume by adding elements (production values, etc.) that can significantly distract and dilute the career story – much like that animated resume we started with. It is possible, however, for the video resume to act as a supplement to a traditional resume rather than a substitute.
For the same reasons we advise job seekers to dress very conservatively for a face-to-face interview, we will advise resume writers to not allow their visual countenance to sabotage a first impression. Your career story is all that matters on a resume and printed words on plain background conveys that message clearly. Don’t allow what you look and sound like to ruin that message.
The Computer Merchant, Ltd.
The Computer Merchant, Ltd. (TCM) is a veteran-owned, national provider of technology staffing solutions for commercial enterprise companies, systems integrators and public sector/government agencies. We’ve been deploying top-notch IT and engineering talent for our clients in 48 states and across many diverse industries and cutting-edge technologies since 1980. What can we do for you?