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Plain-text resumé is dead

If you’re applying to jobs using only a template-driven text-based resumé, you’ll have a harder time putting yourself ahead of the crowd.

Hiring managers receive dozens, sometimes hundreds of applications per day. They’ll quickly scan it to see whether you have the qualifications for the job. But putting a bit of creativity into your application may help you hold their attention longer and ultimately make you stand out from the crowd.

The goal of any application is to get an employer interested in interviewing you. While you may have the skills the role requires, what is it about you that really makes you stand out? Are you a talented developer, visually creative, good at visualizing data? Use your application to prove it.

Plain text applications, while good for providing a comprehensive overview of your work history, usually do little to actually showcase your skills and talent. They’re taken a back seat to unique, eye-catching application methods.

Hiring isn’t just based on skills or experience — more and more employers are looking for the right combination of creative thinking and cultural fit. And if your resumé doesn’t prove that you could be the right person for the job, it’ll most likely get lost among similar applications.

Think about what would make you stand out, and how you can tie your application into your desired role.

One tool that’s becoming more commonly employed is the video resumé. If you have a webcam, you can create one. It’s a great opportunity for employers to get a glimpse of what you’re all about before you meet them in an interview. Here’s a tip: Speak confidently and talk to the camera instead of reading off a piece of paper.

Another option is a social media application. Whether you create a custom profile or presentation, you can use online networking tools to your advantage. As the focus of your application or as supplementary materials, they can prove to an employer how socially savvy you are.

Whatever you choose, putting a little ingenuity into your application can prove that you’re serious about the role and that you can bring creative thinking to the table.

Going by the age-old writing rule of “Show, don’t tell,” a plain-text resumé alone just doesn’t cut it anymore — choose an approach that will prove you’ve got the skills, experience, and talent they’re looking for to take the role to the next level.


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