By Ramiro Zuniga, Ed.D.
Rumor has it that Leonardo da Vinci created the first professional resume ever. If the rumor is true, then the resume is more than 500 years old. Although the purpose of the resume has not changed, some believe that the manner in which it is presented will. I respectfully disagree.
As we all know, the purpose of the resume is to provide a quick summary of one’s education, skills, and experience to a potential employer. As in the days of da Vinci, resumes still generally consist of words and text. I expect that this will be the case for years to come.
I have seen at least three different instances in which the traditional resume was to be cast aside for more contemporary resumes. The three variations included the electronic portfolio, the infographic resume, and the online profile.
The electronic portfolio consisted of a collection of professional and academic works that were presented to a potential employer prior to, during, or at the conclusion of a personal interview. The portfolio was accessible via a compact disc or an internet link. Files and works were organized in subdirectories and folders by relevancy so that the potential employer could navigate through and view files of interest. The files could include textual, audio, or multimedia files.
The infographic resume utilized icons, charts, drawings, and text to communicate specific information graphically as opposed to simple text. The thought behind infographics is that the human mind can and more naturally interprets visual information versus text information. The old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” seems to apply here.
The online profile allows for individuals to create a traditionally structured resume online. Many of the online profiles are tied to professional networks or job-seeking/placement sites.
Although all of these variations can be used in place of the traditional resume, I don’t believe that traditional resumes will become a thing of the past.
I can recall the fervor among my colleagues when electronic portfolios were all the rage. I remember encouraging many to maintain a professional electronic portfolio for job seeking. In all my experience in interviewing hundreds of potential employees, very few ever offered any type of portfolio. The idea just didn’t seem to catch on.
My thought on infographic resumes is that an infographic is better suited for quick fact charts. A chart depicting facts about a specific country relative to climate, population, gross national product would be a good example of what I am talking about. The traditional resume, in and of itself, is already summarized. Further summary through graphics and icons may lead to misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the information presented.
And finally, the online profile. Online profiles are good but most employers require an applicant to submit a resume when applying for a job. Although many employers are beginning to utilize online profiles, most are still relying on the traditional resume.
I have actually reviewed many online profiles. What I have found is that many profiles are either incomplete or contain errors. I would surmise that many of the individuals creating online profiles are not seeing their online profiles as anything more than a means by which to communicate basic information as they would through another social networking site.
The greatest change that I have seen relative to resumes is that most employers require the resume to be submitted electronically and not in hard copy. I can, however, attest to many employers still requiring a hard copy resume.
My final thought is that one should focus on maintaining a current resume at all times. One never knows when an opportunity may come up. Losing time by having to update one’s resume may end in an opportunity slipping away.