Before it was easy to build your own blog, before Facebook was hot, before the ability to tweet a message to the world…getting your skills and qualifications in the hands of the right people was much different than it is today.
Not so long ago, job search meant sweating over an IBM typewriter—or in later years—a word processing program, driving to the local stationary store, picking up the parchment paper, and getting just the right stamp for the outside of the envelope. And, most of the time your envelope would be opened by a real person, who would experience your application from both a visual and tactile sense as they unfolded your resume and cover letter and perused the contents. Back in the day, these were just a few of the resume rituals that were quite commonplace.
Fast forward to now. At the push of the button, you can apply to almost any job, anywhere. A job seeker has access to more jobs, more companies, and more opportunities. And, of course, employers have their pick of more candidates, with more experience, from more places. Job seekers have more jobs at their fingertips, but are competing against far more people. Employers have more talent at their disposal, but struggle to identify the best talent amidst the sea of applications.
In the process the resume has been downgraded to mere words in binary format, competing for the attention of computer systems that are the gatekeepers to recruiters. The traditional resume still persists but, as renowned HR expert Peter Weddle recently said, it is about as “inspiring as a brick.” In fact, in a recent Nexxt poll, over 57% of the HR professionals we polled said that an infographic or visual-style resume would help them more quickly evaluate candidates over a traditional resume. And, 79% of jobseekers said that they wish they had a better way to present themselves online. Resumes are primed for an upgrade.
In the age of social media, your personal brand is king. You are the marketing department for the product of "You." You are the sales person for yourself. And the cacophony of available self-publishing, self-branding, self-broadcasting tools is exhaustive and overwhelming. Every day, a new social network pops up or some new-fangled job search site promises to give you all the jobs, handle the apply for you, and make your job search quick, easy, and painless. And yet, most job seekers still must rely on a few pages of largely unformatted copy and bullets to get hired.
At present, that is the reality. A more evocative resume doesn’t play well with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs), and 93% of hiring managers are still going to ask for the traditional resume at some point during the hiring process. But, recruiters and HR folks are already stepping outside of their systems to get a fuller picture by searching Google and looking people up on social media to find out who they really are. A growing number of companies are developing alternatives to the traditional resume. Over the next few years, these formats will continue to gain traction, become better integrated with ATS systems and other technology, and grow more widely used and accepted by job seekers and recruiters.
Here’s a look at 10 companies that are leading the charge in enabling professionals to craft a more visual resume and make a better online elevator pitch. I graded each tool based on eight important criteria to demonstrate their value (see addendum).