Resumes in the digital age

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We live in a big, rushing, digital world. Writing letters is something done for nostalgic purposes; a throwback to simpler times. School-age children aren’t even taught to read an analog clock anymore. Even the simple act of installing a landline telephone in your house is an antiquated ideal. However, in this digital world, where social media is the new job application, why are we still sweating over our paper resumes?

Digital Resume

There are many ways in which to apply for a job these days, very few of which include going to a physical location, obtaining a paper application, returning it, and either waiting for a manager or anticipating a phone call for an interview. When layoffs were prevalent, people took to the internet to, not only, voice their frustrations but to announce that they needed work. Most of these social media posts were met with responses asking for that person’s resume or credentials and so on and so forth.

With sites like LinkedIn that allow you to essentially post your resume, along with a nice little blurb tooting your own horn, and any (or all) commendations you’ve received, has the job searching market changed? Has the advent of the digital resume, moved the eager cover letter or email with attached resume into the column of things people rarely do anymore?

As prospective employers, are we satisfied with only looking at a candidate’s electronic life or do we still want to see a hard copy of what they’ve done and where they’ve been? Does a well formatted, professional resume still have the ability to edge out the competitors the way it used to? This, then, begs the question as to whether or not the importance of a good resume is something that should still be taught to high-school and college aged children.

Most people of my generation will remember when typing class turned into computer classes. We learned about the home row, basic functions of the computer, and on those lucky Fridays, we were allowed to play Oregon Trail. In our studies, we were also taught how to draft a business memo, write a formal letter, and format a proper resume. As boring or tedious as it seemed back then, these lessons turned out to be quite important.

Recently, in assisting a member of the younger generation in his quest for the best job ever, he mentioned he had no idea how to even create a resume, much less a good one. Trying to walk him through the process was a nightmare during which he complained and stated he didn’t know why he needed one when his prospective perfect employer was just going to interview him anyway. In his mind, the act of creating and submitting a resume was an inconvenience, whereas in my day, it was a badge symbolizing adulthood.

During the days of my initial job search, in the adult world, a resume was of the utmost importance, including the stock on which it was printed. Today, however, little attention seems to be paid to the importance of the physical resume, but we’re forcing principles of the perfect LinkedIn profile on people left and right. Are we allowing this digital movement to replace what was once the standard for job searching?

There are still employers out there that request a copy of your resume when you submit an electronic application. The applicant attaches a file containing their actual resume, and then the waiting game begins. However, as we are completing the transition into this tech-laden world, are the employers even paying attention to the resumes they’re asking for, or is it a test to see if the applicant knows what a resume looks like?

An online resume on LinkedIn, however, has a hard time being padded or embellished, as most people are going to call a person out for fabricated information. In the days of creating the perfect resume, people occasionally fudged their credentials. One advantage of the digital age is that there is always someone watching, checking up, and correcting if the need arises. In this instance, does the ability to essentially fact check a potential applicant outweigh the fact that they can’t create a proper resume?

Another advantage of the digital age, is that employers are able to see if you’ve been deleting less than favorable employers from your resume. A great deal of people don’t update their LinkedIn profile enough or pay close enough attention to go back and delete their job history, thus allowing a potential employer to see if you’re a job jumper.

Whether or not the ability to create a resume is still a desirable skill is debatable, but what is not is the importance of longevity with a position, allowing for the development of important skills, and the ability to interview well. Today’s world of cyber-commuting and Skype interviews may be a new one, but a first impression is still the best way to sell yourself.

Digital Resume” image courtesy of Shutterstock.

1 comment
  1. Great article!

    As a university counselor, I tell our students that whatever your hiring manager wants (in terms of education, experience, attitude, resume, or LinkedIn profile) is the only thing that matters! That is, if a prospective employer really cares about you having right-aligned dates on your resume, you should really care about having right-aligned dates on your resume. If your employer really cares about having a LinkedIn photo that shows off your personality and enthusiasm, you should really care… you get the idea.

    All that to say, the traditional resume is going to be extremely important for at least some employers for the foreseeable future, but so is social media, face to face networking, and your major in college – it all depends on who you’re trying to impress! Today, you should do it all.

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