Your parents might have gotten their first job just by walking into their dream company, demanding to speak with the boss, and magically starting to work on Monday.
But in 2021 that’s probably not going to happen. Chances are, you’ll get escorted from the premises instead.
On the other hand, what can make a difference in today’s job search is a well-crafted digital resume.
The term pretty much speaks for itself. A digital resume is a resume that your future employer or a recruiter can access online via a link.
As you can see, the basic definition of the digital resume is relatively vague. Because of that, a digital resume can assume many forms — online resume, portfolio, professional website, LinkedIn profile, or even video resume.
Now that question is: if a company’s HR rep was to google your name, what would they find? If the answer is your personal social media accounts, you’re probably hurting your chances of getting employed.
Now, let’s take a look at each of the many shapes of the digital resume we mentioned above.
From software engineers and designers to painters, writers, or even students and scholars. If you’re a creator of any kind and you’re applying for creative jobs, you’ll want to showcase your work.
This is your opportunity to show not only what your current level of skill is, but also how far you’ve come. In this way, potential employers can gauge your potential for growth and future progress. This doesn’t mean including your first work ever or just any work. Be selective and showcase what you’re capable of doing, your individuality, and your overall best work.
One of the best ways to create your digital portfolio is to use one of the many online tools — choose based on the type of work you do. Just to name a few:
If you’re a software engineer, you’ve probably encountered the popular notion that somehow GitHub is your resume now. After all, it only makes sense that a profession which mostly revolves around creating things would finally get its own version of a portfolio. Ultimately, you want to show potential employers what you can do instead of just telling them that you can do it. And employers love being able to see it.
For a graphically beautiful and clean portfolio, Canva is the right choice. Valuable especially to designers and artists of any kind, Canva allows you to choose a template or tinker with your own design to show your best pieces of work. Canva itself recommends to go for quality over quantity, focus on your best work, and choose varied pieces. We couldn’t agree more.
For the aspiring writer or journalist, sharing your pieces with the world (and employers-to-be) is obviously crucial. WordPress, a free publishing service lets you do exactly that. Choose your theme, build your website, and start writing. If you’re not quite sure where to start, there are guides online, such as this really helpful one.
Think of your personal website as an introduction to you as a professional. Ideally, you want it to be a hub that can guide employers to other parts of your online presence that you want them to see.
And what would those be, you ask? I can be your portfolio, LinkedIn account, or anything else that is relevant. The key is to make it easily accessible and streamlined. You’re trying to grab the visitor’s attention. Basically, you’re presenting yourself as a brand.
While making your own landing page or website might sound quite daunting at first, there’s plenty of tools online that will make the task much simpler.
If you have no experience with web building and design, try Wix. This provider has plenty of gorgeous designs ready to use, and comes with a free plan that has everything you need to make a simple, yet effective landing page. You can integrate your social media accounts if that’s relevant for your profession, and it comes with analytical tools that will help you promote your landing page.
Of course, there are many other services that will help you create your landing page. You might have heard of Squarespace, which also has a 14-day trial. Landigi lets you customise their templates which it categorises by goal and industry. Have a look to decide which landing page builder might be the best for you here. Try a few of them and see for yourself which one is right for you.
If you prefer the feel of a traditional PDF resume but want to add a bit of spice, some resume builders offer visually pleasing website templates and even allow you to host your resume on their domain. All you have to do is send companies a link and you’re all set.
Kickresume allows you to choose from a variety of customizable templates that align with the personal brand you want to present to your potential employers. Apart from sharing your resume online, it also lets you turn your existing resume into a regular website. This can save you a lot of time if you want both a resume and personal website, since you only have to create the resume.
CakeResume also provides professional resume templates for different industries and allows you to share your online resume with a link. To make the whole process easier, you can even use their generator to convert your original resume to a resume template.
When it comes to creating a professional online presence, you can’t get around having a LinkedIn profile.
The main advantage of LinkedIn as a platform is that it’s a social network. It allows you to research potential employers and reach out to the right people in companies you’d like to work at. Proactively engaging with people who can help you land a job can make your job search a bit less of an ordeal. Also, 122 million people already received an interview through LinkedIn. That’s nothing to scoff at.
Maybe you just really want to stand out from the crowd. Maybe part of your dream job involves public speaking and you want to show this through a video resume, or your job depends on your skills as a dancer or performer. At the end of the day, as long as it makes sense in the context of the job you want, you can present your skills in any way you want.
However, keep in mind that in most jobs, it really is for the best to stick to conventional means. According to one study, only 3% of employers prefer a video resume.
Rule of thumb — always consider if it’s relevant to the job. The key is to adapt your CV to your chosen career path. It might not be the best idea to send a video of yourself reading poetry to a job listing which calls for someone to manage databases. However, if you’re applying for a customer-facing role with high stakes (think sales for a young company), you can gamble and try to do something different.
To sum it up, consider what kind of job you’re applying for and what sort of values each company has. If it’s a start-up, something bright and modern is likely to succeed. If you’re applying for a job as an investment banker, well, you may want to stick to something more conservative.
In crafting your portfolio, landing page or digital resume, go for quality over quantity. There are always services that can help you and each provider offers abundant resources on how to use their services.
And to answer the key question — yes, you’ll almost definitely need a digital resume in the 21st century!