History of the Resume

The resume has had quite a journey from the first resume to the types of documents candidates produce today so we thought it would be fun to explore the history of the resume and how we think it will evolve in the future.

The Beginning


The first resume was written by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1482. He wrote a letter outlining his many skills to the Duke of Milan in hopes of securing a job. You can read the letter here. He writes about how his abilities will help the Duke and outlines all of his skills. This is such an interesting glimpse into how people presented themselves many years ago versus the types of resumes candidates would submit 500 years later.

In the 1500s, a travelling lord offered a handwritten introduction to any acquaintances he met and called it his resume. This is believed to be when the document developed its name.

The 1900s

By 1940 the resume had changed significantly. Most people now included their weight, age, marital status, and religion on their resume in addition to their skills. By 1950 employers began to expect a resume as part of the job application and by 1960 candidates began to include the sports and clubs they were a part of in order to give potential employers a more complete picture of themselves.


1970 saw the emergence of digital typesetting and word processors which helped to give resumes a classy and more professional look. In 1980 the first book about resumes was published, entitled “How to Write Your CV” and by 1987 fax machines became the new way to send resumes to employers.

The 1990s


1994 was an important year for job seekers as we saw the internet go public. Career Builder was also founded this year and this marked a shift in the way we would submit and view resumes in the future. Google was founded in 1998 and played a HUGE part in streamlining people’s job searches and, as we now know, would provide us with the opportunity to market ourselves to millions of employers and allow employers to search for candidates easily and efficiently.

The 2000s

At the start of the 2000s interactive resumes began to emerge online. Resume builders were created and job seekers had more information than ever to help them create the perfect resume.  In 2006 video resumes began to pick up and would hit Youtube by 2007.

Social Media


Social media entered the picture in 2008. This marked a huge shift in resume distribution and job searching as candidates could interact with  employers online and could create their own personal brand that everyone could see. This was also the time when employers began Googling their potential employees. All of a sudden people had access to you through your social networks, and as we would learn, it would become important to control your brand and control the personal content available online.


These days resumes come in all shapes and forms. Documents now contain social media links, video resumes are widely accepted by companies as a form of application, countless personal websites emerge as people try to promote themselves, and resumes take on a multimedia form in order to display the talents and skills of the candidates. While most people still send a written document as their form of resume they are almost always emailed to the company, printing out a resume has become somewhat of an afterthought. In this culture the onus is on the job seeker to find a way to stand out amongst the crowd and promote themselves effectively in order to get the job.

The Future


How will resumes develop in the future? Resumes may become more diverse it format based on job type as job seekers continue to search in specialized job markets. We have many different resume options now and as we create new jobs and niche markets we will continue to see specialized resumes. While one employer may want a video resume, another may want a physical document. Another could want a twitter post saying in 140 characters while you should get the job, or maybe one day the companies will be able to read our minds and know which one of us has the best skills and wants it the most… That could be in our future but, as it has been for over 500 years, the job seekers will continue to adapt the format and create the best resume possible, no matter what form that takes, in order to stand out from the crowd and land the job.