Why Haven’t Resumes Changed?

The job market has changed a lot in the past few years. Between remote work, return to office plans, the great reshuffle, the great resignation, etc., a lot has been going on! Many are saying we are currently in a candidate driven market, which has caused many companies to reevaluate their hiring practices.

But one thing that hasn’t seemed to change is the standard resume. Why is that?

Sure, some companies are exploring new ways of screening candidates, such as video resumes. But in general, the traditional resume remains a pillar of job searching. There are a few reasons for this—

  1. It is the easiest way to filter candidates through databases and applicant-tracking systems. While some recruiters and hiring managers (like us), review every resume they receive personally, there are many companies and recruiting firms that do not have enough people to individually look at each resume. To fast-track applications, they have an AI based system to filter through all of the resumes.
  2. Resumes are one of the fastest and easiest ways to review a candidate. Reviewing video resumes requires more time, access to speakers or headphones, etc. Going back to review LinkedIn profiles (or any job board profile) requires internet access and a laptop or phone. Resumes can be viewed online or physically printed, and can be reviewed whenever time allows.
  3. The standard resume also minimizes the chances of discrimination. While some people elect to include a photo of themselves on their resume, this isn’t standard practice in most industries. Some ATS systems also filter out applicant’s names, which allows hiring managers to compare candidates based solely on experience.
  4. Resumes can be stored easily in online databases. Be it a recruiter’s database or a company’s, the standard resume can be stored internally for future consideration. This is one of the reasons why it is important to have relevant key words on your resume and to be as specific as possible about your past experiences. Many of these internal systems use AI tools to search for key words within the library of resumes.

The last reason is why it is especially important to build the best resume you can. Here are some tips for improving yours:

  1. List your experience in reverse chronological order—your current or most recent position should be at the top.
  2. Don’t worry too much about length (although don’t totally disregard it: we typically see resumes range from 1-4 pages depending on experience). 1-2 pages should be your goal. We’d rather see 2 pages than 1 page with nonexistent margins, but if you only have a few years of experience, you probably don’t need more than a page.
  3. Be careful when using templates (don’t accidentally leave template text in!). Some of the more creative templates can also increase the chances that an ATS system will have trouble filtering your resume.
  4. Include dates for your education and your work experience.
  5. Always double check your contact information. Don’t use a college email (unless you’re currently a college student, then sometimes it is okay), don’t use the same cutesy email you made when you were 15, and don’t use your work email. If you need to, set up a new email address that consists of your first and last name, and use it for all your job applications. This will ensure nothing gets lost in the abyss of your normal emails!

While it might not be that way forever, the standard resume still rules supreme. Do what you can to make yours the best it can be!