Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Resumes

The job market has become so competitive that job seekers are going to many different lengths to stand out. One of the key ways that applicants are drawing attention to themselves is in the format of their resume. Creating a unique resume can help candidates beat out the hundreds of other job seekers applying for the same position. But what options does one have for their resume? What types of things can you do to make your resume stand out? And does it matter which industry you’re applying to? We have those answers for you in today’s blog post.

Should I Abandon the Traditional Resume?

It is becoming more and more common for applicants to ditch the traditional resume in favour of non-traditional methods of communicating their skills and abilities to potential employers.

What are the most common types of non-traditional resumes?

Infographic – a visual representation of skills that uses pictures and colour to convey information

LinkedIn profile – a direct link to the job seeker’s LinkedIn profile with all of their skills and experience as well as testimonial from co-workers

Portfolio – a visual portfolio consisting of past work in order to show abilities instead of listing them in point-form on a traditional resume

Personal Website/Blog – many tech-savvy people are now creating an entire website or blog dedicated to showing their skills and past work experience

Video Resume – a recorded video documenting the job seeker and/or their accomplishments; to be played by the hiring manager

Benefits of Non-Traditional Resumes:

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Visuals and videos can be very eye catching
  • Allows seekers to clearly state their information
  • Great for personal branding
  • Easy shareability & promotability via social media

Downfalls of Non-Traditional Resumes:

  • Many types are not suitable for applicant tracking systems
  • Not suitable for every industry
  • Not as easily skimmable as a traditional resume
  • Can be unclear
  • If poorly designed it can ruin your chances at getting the job
  • Can be distracting from the job seekers actual skills and experience they want to convey

Should I use a Non-Traditional Resume?

It depends.

The decision to use a non-traditional resume depends on a variety of factors. Are you trying to enter a creative field? If the company or position you are applying to is creative or design-based it would be very beneficial to show your skills in that area by using a personal website, portfolio, infographic, or video resume. This would be a great way to show your talent directly to the decision makers.

However, if you are applying to a more traditional industry (Healthcare, Legal) or an industry that receives a large number of candidates (Retail) it may not be reasonable to use a non-traditional resume. These types of industries prefer a more classic approach to the resume and often have applicant tracking systems your resume must go through. An applicant tracking system is a system that will gather candidate’s resumes and parse them for details and relevant experience, a non-traditional resume like an infographic or a video resume may not be suitable for that kind of system. If you submit a resume that does not work within the system you will essentially be putting yourself out of the running for the job from the start.

In conclusion, the industry you’re interested in applying to plays a large role in the type of resume you should submit. If your industry favours a more creative approach than by all means, take a look at the types of non-traditional resumes listed above and create your masterpiece. However, if your industry is more traditional and favours numbers and stats over visuals and creativity, it may be best to stick with the traditional resume format which can outline your skills and previous work experience with easy skimmability.