The job market is more competitive than ever. Both mature professionals and recent graduates are competing for what seems to be an ever-shrinking pool of jobs. That's why it's essential to make your application stand out, and a digital resume is one of the best ways to do it.
In this guide, you'll learn how to do a digital resume online.
We'll explore the different types of digital resume you can use. You'll get some options for how to make a digital profile that looks good to recruiters. We'll cover the types of jobs where non-traditional resumes are most useful and explore some of the key types of digital resumes to consider.
Plus, there'll be tips from resume experts on the most effective ways to use a digital resume.
What's a Digital Resume and Why Do You Need One?
Before we dive into how to make a resume online, let's look at a digital resume definition. A digital resume is a resume created using digital tools, such as software or apps. That can apply to a resume you create in Microsoft Word and upload to a resume website, but it can also apply to something more complex or interactive.
A digital resume is also a resume that exists online, such as a digital portfolio resume or an online resume website.
These days, it's hard for jobseekers to find the right job without a digital resume. Submitting your resume online is the norm. Many recruiters use application tracking software (ATS) to whittle down the pool of resumes and manage the recruitment process.
When you create a resume online, it can help you to stand out. This is important in an environment where job losses have reached record numbers. For example, in the US alone, there have been more than 23 million jobless claims. Also, there are a lot of experienced older workers in the workforce or looking for work.
This all adds up to stiff competition for jobs, which means a stellar digital resume can help improve your chances of landing a job.
Creating a Resume Online: 5+ Resume Types to Consider
So, what kind of online resume should you consider to find the perfect job? In this section we'll look at some innovative ways to showcase your skills:
1. Video Resume
One option is a video resume. It's exactly what it sounds like: a video presentation of your skills, which also offers the chance to show your personality.
Theo Smith, RL100 member and former recruitment manager, says:
"There are several ways a video CV can be used; as part of the selection process, whereby it is scored. Or as in introduction, which can help focus the interview and assessment structure on getting the best out of the applicant.
But candidates are also using it to get their foot in the door, either via a recruitment agency who can use the video CV to promote the candidate or directly to a potential employer."
To make it work, prepare your video resume like any other video. You'll need a script, and to make sure your background, lighting and sound are great. Dress appropriately (this may differ depending on whether you're planning to work in a bank or a tech startup) and keep the video relatively short.
Theo Smith cautions that video resumes aren't always a great option. Smith says:
"I’m suspicious of their usage and don’t feel it always gives candidates fair access to apply. We should be looking at a multi-tool/channel approach where applicants can select their preferred method, be that video, voice or written application."
If you're using a video resume, here's Smith's advice:
"Practice first with your own camera, keep it simple and focus on giving concise answers that can be understood and scored.
However, if a candidate is using their own video CV to get a foot in the door, then I’d say be bold, be brave and try to show the organisation where you’d fit in and what problems you’ll solve. The closer you can keep it to what you're passionate about, the better you’ll come across in the video."
To get started with your own video resume, check out the video resume templates below:
2. PowerPoint Resume
Another good way to make your resume stand out is to create it in PowerPoint. Antoine Smith, Lead Recruiter at Swoon, comments:
"I’ve always believed you should have a different resume for each job you are applying for. It is important to understand your audience, as well as the company, and tailoring the resume to best reflect what skills and attributes they desire most. For example, a high tech start-up or company that prides itself on having a colorful culture would not require a highly creative or different resume but would definitely welcome one. A more by-the-book job opportunity within a government agency or bank would frown upon a nontraditional resume.
Moreover, any opportunity that requires you to come in and create, whether its content or design, I’d get creative with my resume."
Using PowerPoint gives you the option to illustrate your resume with images, graphics, or even embed audio and video. For more tips on creating a PowerPoint resume, plus some sample PowerPoint resume layouts, check out the articles below:
- ResumeHow to Make Your Resume in PowerPoint (With Creative PPT Templates)Tomas Laurinavicius
- Microsoft PowerPoint30 Creative PowerPoint Resume Templates (Best PPT CV Layout Examples 2020)Brenda Barron
3. Online Resume Website
An online resume website is a great addition to a paper resume. You can add photos, audio and interactive elements to create an experience for potential recruiters. It's a good way to share your bio and social links, plus examples of your work, to give a holistic view of your professional achievements.
An online resume website can also help you brand yourself, show testimonials, and make it easy for people to contact you. But before you take a non-traditional approach, check that the recruiter is open to it, says Jeff Detweiler, Executive Recruiter & Career Consultant:
"Do your best to establish some sort of relationship with the recipient before sending. Creativity is an amazing quality that can open many doors for you, but if it’s not welcomed by the receiver, you’re casting your pearls before swine. Once they know you and feel positive about your candidacy a non-traditional resume can really catapult you ahead but if it comes before its time you can be seen as the oddball who can’t follow instructions."
Learn more about creating a personal online resume website in the following articles:
- ResumesHow to Make a Personal Resume Website: From a WordPress ThemeBrenda Barron
- ResumesWhat Should You Include on Your Personal Resume (CV) Website?Brenda Barron
- Resumes23 Best HTML Resume Templates to Make Personal Profile CV Websites (2020)Brenda Barron
4. Digital Resume Portfolio Site
This is slightly different from an online resume website as it focuses primarily on showing examples of your work. A digital resume portfolio site is a useful option for creatives who want to highlight digital work like photos, videos, illustrations, marketing campaigns and articles.
Jessica Millett, Recruiting Manager at Future State, says:
"Portfolio sites are great, especially if your work is technical or creative. They can showcase your skillset and are incredibly valuable for roles like graphic design, UX/UI design, eLearning/instructional design, and web development. Portfolios are also useful if you are an entrepreneur or freelancer since they help you demonstrate your point of view and experience, provide insight into your methodology, and highlight your past success with clients. While a resume can describe your skills and the tools you use, a portfolio helps you illustrate how you put those skills to use."
To use this format well, you'll need to include your name and contact details, examples of your best work, and testimonials. Links to your professional social media profiles and other portfolios won't hurt either. Learn more about digital resume portfolios in the following article:
5. Infographic Resume
Another good choice for creative jobs is an infographic resume. Turning your career history into an infographic can make you stand out by highlighting your creativity. Antoine Smith comments:
"A major advantage [of a non-traditional resume] is keeping the attention of whoever is viewing the resume/profile, smiling, and wanting to share the resume with a colleague or two. Also, differentiating yourself and really getting through who you are as a professional and individual strictly through content and design is the ultimate goal."
Like all infographics, your infographic resume has to tell a story, so plan it out, then think about how you're going to showcase your career highlights. Finally, if you've got interactive elements and links, make sure they work.
Antoine Smith adds:
"There’s a vast difference between clean and creative vs. a complex or complicated profile. A disadvantage of a creative digital resume could be the tech not functioning properly – its highly frustrating going to a dead link. Another disadvantage would be something that isn’t the most user friendly and requires too much skill or technical savviness to maneuver."
Learn more about creating infographic resumes in the guide below:
6. Interactive Resume
Want to really wow a recruiter? If it suits the industry you're applying to, consider an interactive resume. There are all sorts of tools you can use to make it easy to tell a compelling story and make yourself stand out.
Recruiters can hover over items and click to learn more about you. One thing's for sure: get it right and they won't be bored, improving your chances of getting your resume out of the slush pile. Antoine Smith confirms:
"With resumes/profiles being more paperless my favorites have been the more interactive profiles. Website resumes with links to additional work, articles, publications and even video introductions always hold my attention and impress me. In the creative tech space a developer, designer, or anyone who creates visuals having some sort of interactive profile with a way to easily see their past work or projects is very important.
I’ve also loved Prezi resumes where it’s a presentation of skills, content, and infographics but not different pages like in a PowerPoint – done the right way was truly impressive."
Kachi Okoronkwo. Founder, Recruiting Like a Boss, highlights an innovative interactive resume:
"The most innovative was not super high tech, but it was smart. This candidate had her cover letter and resume in a single document and web page. The doc strongly encouraged her interactive resume, but still allowed the option to stick with the doc. I checked to make sure her resume was decent, then went to the webpage. Reading through it felt like I was having a conversation with her.
The most impressive part of her presentation was that it was fully customized for our company and opening. It was a junior position, and anyone who worked that hard on a single job application was going to give a whole lot more once hired. And, it showed confidence, which we highly value in less experienced teammates. She ended up joining one of those big tech companies with an HR department, but I bet she thinks of that company as the one that got away."
7. Traditional Resume
Of course, you still can have a traditional resume, but make it digital by uploading it to LinkedIn. This will give you a professional online presence, along with recommendations for the work you do best. If you keep it up to date, then you can easily use that to show you're in touch with current requirements. Learn more about creating a resume in the following guide:
Jessica Millett says:
"No matter what route you choose, each role you apply to will vary, so modify your resume as many times as needed. If you have a heavily designed resume, prepare a standardized version as well. If the company you are applying to uses an applicant tracking system that will distort your layout or cannot load it, a regular resume can save you some frustration. Also, some non-traditional resumes leave less room to add details about your experience. If a hiring team reaches out for additional information, having a regular resume on-hand that further describes your skills will enable you to respond quickly."
Tips on Using Non-Traditional Resumes
If you're planning to use a non-traditional resume, here are some tips to help you:
1. Be Aware of Pros and Cons
Digital resumes won't work for every job and every recruiter; some niches are relentlessly traditional. So, make sure you're using your digital resume with the right job. It's also worth knowing that while a digital resume will definitely make you stand out, ATS won't be able to read it, which may count against you.
Jessica Millett says:
"In everything from websites to resumes, designing for your audience is essential. An unusual format shows your artistic side and allows you to express your individuality. In some ways, they are expected, especially for roles where style, composition, and innovation are critical factors for success. On the other hand, an unusual format can present accessibility issues and distract from your message, so keep your end-user in mind."
Theo Smith agrees:
"In a world where we are drowning in a sea of information, a creative application in an unusual format or style can help elevate you above the crowd."
But Smith cautions:
"But be aware, this doesn’t fit well with every organisation and environment. Showing your skills through a medium that is relevant to your role makes sense ... But may not go down so well when applying for the role of a management accountant at a big firm.
Also many big firms or government organisations have very robust recruitment processes, which have been designed to be proportionally fair and transparent. Sending a CV of any kind outside of their desired process may not be welcomed and may have a negative impact on your application.
So make sure you’ve done your research and apply accordingly."
Kachi Okoronkwo adds:
"Recruiters focus on speed and volume, so they can review a lot of resumes in a short amount of time. Having a resume that greatly deviates from the "norm" can make a recruiters job more challenging. Additionally, if a recruiter has a lot of resumes, they will use keywords to filter out resumes and a graphical resume isn't always readable so you may not be reviewed with other top candidates. My advice is to stick with a traditional resume, and provide a link to an online version or portfolio if you want to show off your skills."
2. Nail the Format
Whichever digital resume format you're using, you've got to get it absolutely right. A well-executed digital resume will work for you. But equally a poorly executed one will work against you. Make sure you avoid silly mistakes like typos and grammatical errors, too.
Theo Smith comments:
"...I’ve also seen some truly incredible targeted work where people have created video content that is directly targeted to the organisation they want to work for. A great example of this is Jeffrey Roeffen who dreamed of working for NIKE, so he made this video highlighting his love of NIKE, passion for sports and finally his skills and qualifications for a marketing role. Soon after sharing the video across various social channels, he landed a role as their ‘EMEA Digital Content Specialist’.
Proof that with the right level of passion and enthusiasm, with a well thought out platform to show of your skills, anything is possible! "
3. Promote Your Resume Widely
If you've got an excellent digital resume, tell everyone. This will increase your chances of getting the job you want. You never know if a friend of a friend of a friend will be impressed by your creativity and know-how. So, share your digital resume online on social media sites, and add it to your website so it's easy for recruiters to find you.
4. Make Sure It's Right for the Job
It's worth repeating that you should make sure the job you're applying for is open to a creative approach. If you're in marketing or tech, a little creativity is probably welcome. But there's no guarantee a staider profession will find it acceptable. Of course, some jobs may ask you to be creative, which is a plus if you prefer this approach.
5. Have a Regular Resume
It's worth having a standard resume as a backup, just in case. That means you've got it on hand for those who don't want a more innovative approach. It also solves the problem with ATS. Provided your resume is properly formatted, the software will read your resume online. Hopefully, it'll send it straight to a recruiter's inbox.
Jeff Detweiler says:
"Ultimately, yes you will likely need a traditional resume at some point during your hiring process. Most organizations are required to maintain employee job applications as part of their HR record-keeping compliance and you never know who in your hiring process might not be able to view or open a non-traditional resume on their device."
6. Use a Template
Whichever format you use, one way to make sure you get your resume right is to use a template. This will guide you in creating a well-designed resume, without having to create the design yourself. And it'll save you time, which is great for those last-minute job applications. To get some help with creating your next resume, check out the following guides:
- Resumes29 Best Contemporary Resume CV Templates (New Modern Styles for 2020)Andrew Childress
- Resumes35+ Best Professional Business Resume Templates (Company CVs 2020)Andrew Childress
- Resumes25+ Attractive (Eye-Catching) Resume (CV) Templates With Stylish AestheticsBrenda Barron
Learn More About Creating Resumes Online
Ready to get started with your job search? Get some resume creation tips in the guides below:
- CareersTop 15 Resume Mistakes (With Good vs Bad Resume Examples)Charley Mendoza
- ResumesResume Introduction: How to Start a Resume Off Right (For 2020)Brenda Barron
- Resumes19 Phrases You Need to Cut From Your Resume Right NowCharley Mendoza
Get Started With a Digital Resume Today!
You've seen how easy it is to make your job application stand out by using a creative digital resume with your application.
Jeff Detweiler concludes:
"The main advantage of a non-traditional resume format is that you really get the chance to shine as a candidate. The ability to create content that’s memorable, easy-to-understand and visually stimulating is a rare talent which can be put to good use in many ways by a company. Coming strong out of the gate with a creative resume offering reflects a high-intellect and a willingness to take calculated risks.
The potential disadvantage is a non-traditional resume can really sink a great traditional background if it’s poorly executed. Like a unique spice to a delicious dish, the non-traditional resume should never be the focus of your candidacy, it’s only there to showcase your already amazing talents in a new and exciting way."
Don't forget you can save yourself time and hassle by using templates to create your resume. Get started on your resume today!
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