Remember the prediction that computers would create a paperless society? While this clearly hasn’t happened, it’s evident that computers have changed the way we work and communicate.
Similarly, the repeated threat that “the resume is dead” has not materialized, but resumes continue to evolve in new directions to meet the needs of an evolving workforce.
Previously a want ad in the newspaper might draw a few dozen responses. Today, an online posting attracts hundreds, perhaps thousands of resumes.
At one time a name-brand education and top-drawer MBA were enough to capture attention even up through senior executive levels. Now, more workers than ever have college educations, and MBAs are increasingly commonplace.
It used to be that workers joined a company and stayed till retirement. Lifelong career management was not the imperative it is today.
A traditional paper resume was the only kind that was available. Now we have various electronic resumes, online portfolios, online job applications, and numerous other ways of making career information available to potential employers.
As resume professionals, we need to stay on top of evolving trends. And while the traditional resume is alive and well, in today’s competitive and active employment market it’s often appropriate to recommend and prepare additional documents that go beyond the resume to make an even stronger case for our clients.
Here are a few recent scenarios in which I have created documents other than (usually in addition to) a resume to help my clients succeed.
My client had spent ten years in high-profile positions with one of the best-known companies in America. When he left the company, within days he was receiving phone calls from recruiters, competitors, and other network contacts. They all wanted to talk to him about what he could do for them, and he set up half a dozen meetings for the next couple of weeks.
What a great position for my client to be in! He wanted a resume to bring to his meetings or send in advance. Yet, when we spoke, it didn’t seem that he would need his resume to provide details of his background – it was already well known, and he was meeting with people who knew him or knew of him. So rather than create a typical two- or three-page executive resume, I recommended and prepared a one-page “snapshot” that captured just the highlights of his career chronology, accomplishments, and education.
To supplement the one-page resume, we created a two-page leadership addendum that provided a more in-depth look into his top four or five career achievements. He planned to use these as a leave-behind following the meetings, to give his contacts deep and memorable insights into the kinds of challenges he had faced and the results he had delivered.
For another client, the first document we prepared was a two-page executive resume. As she executed her search campaign, I wrote custom cover letters and follow-up letters for her. After one series of meetings, she called to discuss an approach for her scheduled next meeting, and we decided to prepare a job proposal that spelled out precisely the challenges/opportunities facing the company and her value and ability to realize them.
Armed with this custom job proposal, she impressed the top executives with her vision and landed the job.
As a third example, consider my client who was a senior executive of a high-tech consumer products company. He knew his target audience of high-tech executives (and recruiters) would look online to learn about him before and during the interview process. So after creating his traditional executive resume, I wrote a one-page narrative bio and a leadership addendum and then referred him to a colleague who helped him create a complete web portfolio.
The portfolio included all of the documents I had created, shown in their entirety or pulled apart and presented in separate sections. Yet the portfolio format also allowed room for more, different, and creative additions that together created a comprehensive picture of this particular executive – his strengths and accomplishments, leadership style, and vision for the future.
To Infinity… and Beyond
There is no end to the variety of documents we can create for our clients! Taking a consultative approach, we can listen, analyze, and then recommend solutions that help our clients stand out from the crowd, convey just the right information, and create the right perception for each audience.
After all, we’ve evolved from typed CVs to powerful resume presentations. Why stop there?