Friday, June 29, 2012

Skills-Based Resumes

Fads come and go in resumes. The latest: infographic resumes, resumes online (Pinterest, YouTube), and stuff using memes and genres culled from social media.

Do they work?

Most of the blog posts I've seen, with comments from recruiters and human resources types, push "no" to the top of the 8-ball window. Unless you're applying for a job as a designer, showing off your design skills is (a) irrelevant and annoying, or (b) tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot--particularly if you don't know more about design than your Great Aunt Sally's scrapbooking club.

However, the skills-based resume is an innovation that's been around for several decades. That means at least a recipient won't be left holding it at arm's length with a "WTF" look on his or her face.

A traditional resume lists your jobs in reverse chronological order, bulleting the skills you developed and deployed at each position. But what if you've got more skills than you've held jobs? What if your experience comes from internships, extracurricular activities, volunteering and the like?

One way to reimagine your resume is to separate and foreground the skills from the places and times you learned them. The above blog link suggests how to do it. Remember, you want to be sure you don't look like you're hiding anything. It's okay to take a few risks on your resume--do list the basics somewhere (where you got your chops), rather than omitting them entirely. Your reason for departing from the conventional style resume should be apparent, or perhaps mentioned briefly in your cover letter.

Here's another link, to a blog post with warnings about too much innovation:

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