There's been much talk lately about the arrival of the fully paperless office and the entirely digital job search. Speculative technophiles and futuristic lovers of all things internet are trumpeting the same message: The resume is dead! The old fashioned job search is dead! If you hand a hiring manager a paper resume, she'll throw it back in your face, laugh, and assume you aren't tech savvy!
While some managers might do this (there are all kinds of people in the world), and it's true that valuable networking connections are sometimes established on Twitter and Facebook, it's a dangerous mistake to toss your resume into the shredder and turn exclusively to social media in order to find your next position. The digital landscape changes fast, and the ability to keep up demonstrates energy and flexibility. But don't get carried away. The resume is far from dead.
If you find yourself falling for any of the following resume trends, stop and change course. The sooner you do so, the sooner you'll get your career back on track and leave the job market behind.
Your Resume is Waiting Passively to Be Discovered
Job seekers, especially young workers and new grads, often come to employment counselors with a similar lament: "I posted my credentials on LinkedIn, Monster, Facebook, my blog, Twitter and even Pinterest and I don't have a job yet. I don't understand."
Here's our answer: Hiring managers who have a position to fill aren't roaming the internet looking for interesting blogs. And they certainly aren't looking for candidates on Pinterest. They're publishing postings and asking candidates to read those postings, take action, show initiative, and submit their resumes. Filling out your LinkedIn Page and waiting for offers to flow in is like sitting on a desert island waiting to be rescued. Your resume is your raft. Build that raft and set sail.
Your Resume is Cluttered and Overly Formatted
Impress employers with your skills and credentials, not your ability to use text boxes and colored fonts. Keep your resume simple and readable and let your qualifications take center stage. By the same token, don't attach photos, videos, or multimedia presentations unless specifically asked. Most employers won't open them anyway.
Your Resume Isn't Available as a .Doc File
It's surprising but true that some employers have trouble with resumes sent as PDFs or even .Docx files. This is often because employers like to share resumes digitally and pass them around adding comments and marginal notes, and unfamiliar file types can make this difficult. If the job posting doesn't specify file type, send your resume and cover letter as simple .doc Word files.
Again, the heart of your application lies in the content of these files, not the files themselves. Some candidates attempt to dazzle employers with their tech savvy, and end up merely frustrating them with unreadable documents and broken links.
Your Resume Isn't Printable
Again, simple Word files are printable. But website pages sometimes aren't. Don't let yourself be passed over because an employer wants to print your resume and can't.
Your Resume Doesn't Exist
Some rumors suggest that employers are now ignoring the standard application process altogether, and are instead simply typing a candidate's name into Google and reviewing whatever shows up. These employers, so the story goes, are less interested in the contents of a resume and more interested in evidence of an "internet presence".
If this were true, it would be great news for job seekers who conduct the job search by simply maintaining a constant "presence" on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. And it would be nice if this kind of internet savvy could take the place of a formal education and a strong work history. But these rumors are overblown, and this type of staffing strategy is a long way from universal. For now, a respectable Facebook page won't hurt your chances, but you'll still need a resume. And you'll need a real one—a simple, well organized document that showcases what you've done and who you are.