resume writing

Your Resumé: Is It Time for a Digital Upgrade?

First of all, let’s put to rest the rumor that resumés are dead. Passé. Outdated. Sorry, but they’re not. While the demise of the resumé has been predicted for years, currently they are still a standard requirement for most companies. Yes, you can direct people to your website or LinkedIn profile, and they may check you out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and lots of other places online, but all of that is secondary information. The reality is that, once you get into the hiring process, most companies will expect you to produce a resumé.**

So, since you still need a resumé, let’s make it a great one! It’s important to have a modern and digitally-compatible resumé, especially in the creative industry. Take advantage of the opportunities technology provides to showcase your work, your skills, and your experience.

Leverage free software and tools.

There are plenty of online tools to help you compile and format a great-looking resumé. Templates are available in any document program, design software programs, on portfolio websites, and even places like Etsy. There are sites to create your own infographics, or you can build a separate resumé page on your personal website. There’s no shortage of choices, just find something you’re comfortable with that can create what you need.

Keep it simple.

Take advantage of digital abilities of the software you’re using, but avoid the temptation to overdesign your resumé. This document has one job–to provide information about your work history, education, experience, skills, background, and qualifications. Don’t let clever design get in the way of clear communication. You can use a nice color palette, tasteful fonts, and a few design elements, but let your portfolio showcase your creativity.

Communicate clearly.

Keep it simple applies to written content as well. Even if you’re a writer by trade, save the clever words for your portfolio. It’s okay to have a little style, but never at the expense of communicating clearly and concisely what you do, what you’ve done, and what you can do for the company or client. Skip the industry jargon, abbreviations, and txtspk; the reader may not be as familiar with these terms, and an ATS may not translate the words.

Make it compatible with an ATS.

See what I did there? An ATS is an Applicant Tracking System, and nearly every company that hires people uses a tracking system, human resources software, or some type of database to organize their information. Your resumé MUST have text that can be read by these systems. Confirm that any software or template you are using keeps the text “live” and does not convert it to an image. Don’t build your resumé in Photoshop, don’t convert the text to a graphic or image, and don’t reverse light text out of a dark background.

Include links.

An embedded link in your resumé brings attention to something you want to highlight and lets the reader easily get more information. Use them strategically and judiciously. Link to a few key items, like your portfolio, a website you designed, or an article you wrote. However, don’t rely on links. Readers may not click them, or they might print out the resumé to give to someone else, so be sure all of the important content is included in the document. Consider links interesting bonus material for the reader.

Emphasize skills and results.

Your resumé should communicate both what you’ve done, and what you can do. Highlight your skills, results, and achievements, either in text or graphics. A chart or infographic can be useful here, just keep it simple and clear.

Make it mobile.

Whether you use an online software, template, design programs, or create a web page, test your resumé on mobile devices. Send it to yourself and a couple of friends to test how it looks on various devices.

Have a printable version.

I know, it may seem completely old-fashioned, but you need to have a standard printable version of your resumé. It might be the online version saved as a PDF or a completely separate document. There are circumstances where you’ll need to email a document or bring a printed copy to an interview, so be sure that paper version looks just as fantastic as the digital one.

Have it proofread.

Don’t rely on spellcheck, have an actual human proofread your resumé for you. Spellcheck is great, but it doesn’t realize when you’ve used the wrong word, as long as it IS a word. The most common example of this we see is people listing their title as “Manger” instead of Manager. Both real words, two totally different meanings. There are also good online tools like Grammerly that can help catch these type of mistakes. 

Keep it current.

Always have a current resumé readily available. Even if you haven’t changed jobs, at least once a year check all the links, update your skills and experience and make sure the design is fresh and current. You never know when an opportunity will come your way


**I realize that someone will comment to prove me wrong with a story about how they got their job with a YouTube video or their Instagram account. That’s awesome and rare. Like a unicorn. Don’t rely on being a unicorn.

3 Great Reasons To Always Be Updating Your Resume

By Catherine Lang-Cline

When you lose your job, or choose to find another job, it is the natural first step to update your resume. But waiting to update it after 3, 5, or 10 or more years can work against you. Here are 3 great reasons to always be updating your resume.

  1. It is difficult to remember all of your accomplishments. Unless you are taking notes as you go, I am sure that you have achieved a lot more then you can remember on your job. It is much more difficult to write a resume when you are scrambling for information. Think about any problem-solving you have done. Have there been opportunities where you trained the new hire? Everyday accomplishments can add up to something impressive, like a skill that can be applied to a future position. Keep track of everything and then when you need it, customize your resume to the job that you want just by keeping all the skills and training that you added that apply to this new role.

  2. You can shape your future. Unless you plan on staying in your current role for the entire length of your career, use your written resume as a guide to what you have accomplished and what you would like to accomplish. If you know that role you want in the future, what is your resume missing? Look at it from the point of view of a hiring manager. Look for any experience you might need to gain. Higher-level roles might require leadership experience, project management, specific software skills, etc. What do you need to add to get that dream job of tomorrow? Make a list, then make it happen!

  3. You will need a resume or bio for board work and mentoring. Maybe you are the person that could never imagine leaving the company that you work for. With all of the experience that you have accumulated, you can think about giving back to the community or the people in your field of work. With an updated resume or bio, you can apply for board positions in areas that need your expertise or share interests with you. Typically, when board roles are filled, they will want to see your skills and accomplishments, basically, what would make you a great board member. You can also take all of your experience and share it as a mentor. You probably don’t realize that you know so much and that people with less experience could find what you know as valuable. A mentee might ask to see your resume or bio to see if you would be a good fit for them. Give back in either way can be a greatly rewarding experience.

So why wait to update that resume? There is no better place to invest your time. And when you are ready to share it, make sure that it is kept simple and is easy to navigate because that way all of your great information will be easy to find. Most importantly, the information in your resume or bio tells the story of you and you are changing and learning more every day, so let’s get credit for that.


One More Overused Word

Not long ago Kristen posted about Highly Abused Resume Phrases.  Well I have one more to add - Utilize.  Recently I have received many resumes with this word in the Objective Statement.  Be creative! Switch it up with Develop, Employ, Hone, or Maximize.  Or hey, you can be even more bold and not even have an objective statement.  Let the rest of your resume do the talking.  This is a subject in debate.  Some employers claim they don't even read objective statements, while some say if a resume doesn't have an objective statement the applicant must not know what he or she wants.  To read more about the debate, check out