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Updating Your Résumé to the 21st Century Trends

Highlight your skills with a modern résumé and ePortfolio

According to Glassdoor, the average recruiter or hiring manager spends only six seconds reading a résumé. What if there was a way to stand out against the competition without using just the traditional résumé? For years, the traditional résumé has been used to allow employers to see the skills, strengths, experiences, accomplishments, and education of prospective job seekers. Typically, job seekers will be instructed by career coaches to use the standard one-page résumé when searching for employment. Although this is correct, there are other ways to bring your résumé into the 21st Century while also standing out against the competition.

Developing a high quality résumé:
When crafting a résumé, the first thing to decide on is what type you are going to use. Listed below, are two standard types of résumés and in what situations you would use them in:

Chronological Résumé – itemizes previous employers beginning with the most recent with accomplishments provided for each company. Use this type if you have continuous work experience.

Functional Résumé – itemizes overall career path accomplishments followed by a list of employers beginning with the most recent. Use this type if you have a scattered work experience, or have been sporadically unemployed.

To find out more about chronological and functional résumés, and how to target them to specific industries, it is always a good idea to research what other professionals in your industry have written. When you conduct this search, be sure to take note of things you like and things you wish to avoid that other people have written in their résumé. Once your résumé is completed, it is always a good idea for you to sit down with a career coach to review and finalize it.

To help you piece together a well formulated résumé, take note of the following key items:

  • List your skills that are relevant to the job description
  • Use action words (Managed, Initiated, Counseled, etc.) when writing Accomplishment Statements
  • Use dollars, percentages and numbers to quantify your actions and results
  • Absolutely NO spelling, grammar, punctuation or typographical errors
  • Target every résumé to a specific job in a specific company
  • Go back only 10-15 years in your career path
  • Include a cover letter when requested by employer
  • Proofread carefully

Digitizing your professional experience and bringing it into the 21st Century:
Once you have a completed résumé, it is a good idea to look at different ways about getting your profile across to employers especially since there may be hundreds of job seekers applying to the same job. A really important tool that many job seekers traditionally used in their job search process was a briefcase which would typically contain all types of official documents (résumé, cover letter, printed portfolio, etc.) accessible in one place. Can you think of something that could be closely related to this? If you were thinking the internet, you’re right!

The internet has a wide array of tools that you can use to get recognized in a colorful and enriching way, one of which is considered to be an electronic portfolio, ePortfolio for short, that will help you keep all documents in one place, make you seem technologically proficient to the employer, and will make your professional accomplishments do most of the talking. Two of the best forms of developing an ePortfolio are LinkedIn or developing a website with a free website builder (Wix, Wordpress, Weeby, etc.) that you can use to upload all types of professional evidence of previous work.

To implement this, you will want to add the URL link on the top of your résumé of your LinkedIn profile or personal ePortfolio, which typically gets added under you profile information. 

Developing a strong ePortfolio:
The objective of a portfolio is to show strong and compelling evidence of your skills to a hiring manager or recruiter. It is important to create an ePortfolio for all of your work, while also adding your professional profile to make you stand out.  If you are a Chef, Artist, Web Developer, or Teacher, you could show many types of visual representations of your work. If you are a Customer Service Representative, Accountant, Entrepreneur, or Salesperson, you can rely more on developing a brand and sticking with quantifying results and success stories.

If you use these tips while also working closely with a career coach or mentor for support, you will be in an excellent position to apply and interview for a great paying job. If you feel stuck or applying for jobs isn’t getting you anywhere, try adjusting your résumé to complement the job description. Customizing your résumé for each company you apply for can go a long way and can be the key to landing you a job.

Written by: Steven Heinitz, Career Consultant, TANF

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