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Are Resumes Relevant Anymore?

How resumes are used in recruitment has changed - how relevant is yours now?


In the past 5 years we’ve seen the rise of the ‘creative’ resume, digital CVs that have gone ‘viral’ and the increasing need to have an online presence. More than a few times people will refer to you as your ‘brand’ — what’s your digital brand? How are you propositioning yourself in the digital job market?

It might seem like it’s time to bin those two sides of A4 you once spent hours meticulously writing, googling tips about how to write, and re-writing your life’s academic and employment achievements.

The traditional resume hasn’t died just yet, but the way it’s used and how it’s used has definitely changed, and is continuing to do so. While it’s not time to throw it completely, it is time to rethink how you use it to make sure it’s getting in front of the right people and scoring you interviews.

Searchability and Keywords are Key

In the early days, having a bunch of CVs in front of them was the best way for an employer to compare potential candidates for their roles. It was about giving them an overview of your experience, skills and academic achievements in order to see who was a better or worse fit for the role. From this, employers would create their interviewee shortlist.

Nowadays, a CV is less about selling yourself and more a way for employers and recruiters to find and screen the candidates they want.

When seeking out potential candidates on online job databases, recruiters and employers will search for specific keywords, job titles and skills — and use the results to create a shortlist. For many jobs, applications are scanned for keywords to create the first shortlist of interview candidates so it’s crucial to make sure you’re using the correct keywords, titles and skills on your CV.

You can create a competent list of the keywords you should be using by referring to the full job description, and if you’re putting your CV into an online database, make sure you use a few different job ads for the same roles so you can build a bigger list of keywords.

Remember: only editable files can be scanned for keywords so if you’re going down this route make sure to upload your CV in a word format.

Be Prepared for the ‘Digital Interview’

It’s no secret employers will look you up online. Your CV might still be the baseline requirement that will be taken into account when an employer is weighing up whether to hire you or not, but you can also be quite certain they’ll also be conducting a ‘digital interview’ — looking up what they can find out about you online — as well!

It’s no longer about just being on LinkedIn. Employers will want to see recommendations from past employers and colleagues, as well as details of projects you worked on — and crucially what your output and achievement from these was.

Employers want new recruits who are engaged and active in their chosen field/industry — sharing or better yet, writing an article or two, on your area of expertise will showcase your enthusiasm for your work. Also include details of presentations and links to media/websites you’re active on or have contributed to.

Having a well maintained, and content full profile can help build your credibility to potential employers, and also demonstrate you as a contributor and influencer within your chosen field.

Keep Your Resume Active

As mentioned above, it’s not about binning your CV altogether — it’s about thinking a bit smarter about how to use it most effectively in today’s digital focused job market. Some tips to consider:

– Stay Consistent

Make sure your CV reflects your digital profile — job titles, companies, dates and projects should all be consistent, online and offline! Honesty is one of the highest rated qualities employers look for so don’t fall short by telling fibs at this stage.

– Have a critical eye

Is your digital presence matching up with your real life career goals? Make sure that you’re engaged with the right content and websites for your industry and look for real life opportunities such as networking events too. Dont just do anything and everything — make sure what you’re doing has the right impact and adds value to what you’re trying to achieve in the world of work, employers will notice.

– Do a privacy checkup

It’s more than ok to have a personal life separate from your work life — just have a think about what you want potential employers to see before making something personal public.

– Do a digital detox on your professional profile

Whether you’re currently looking for a new job, or happily employed, it’s always advisable to do a digital detox professionally. Having a strong professional presence online can help not only with securing a new role, but aid in securing promotions and acquiring other professional opportunities.


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