Thursday, 13 February 2014

A resume by any other name...

The other day one of my colleagues sent me a link to Leonardo da Vinci’s resume. That’s right, Leonardo da Vinci! Thee Renaissance man. The guy who, among many other things, painted the Mona Lisa. His resume is in the form of a letter, which he wrote in 1482, to the Duke of Milan outlining his expertise and offering his services as a ‘skilled contriver of instruments of war.’

It made me think about the increasing number of articles I’ve seen and comments I’ve heard proclaiming the demise of the resume. In today’s digital age, the argument goes, employers are looking more and more at a person’s online presence, particularly their LinkedIn profile, Facebook page or personal blog, when deciding whether to hire or even interview that person. While I agree that some employers look at potential employees’ online presence – I don’t know the extent to which and I’m pretty sure it isn’t universal – I don’t think we can say that the resume has gone the way of the dodo bird just yet, or even in the near future. I can’t recall ever seeing or hearing an employer ask only for an applicant’s Linked In profile. The vast, vast majority still want to see a person’s resume.

But what is a resume? According to my handy dandy Oxford English Dictionary – the compact edition, the one I need my glasses AND magnifying glass to read – the definition of resume is, simply, ‘a summary.’ The Merriam-Webster online dictionary provides a more specific definition: ‘a short document describing your education, work history, etc. that you give an employer when you are applying for a job.’

A person’s online profile – in particular, their LinkedIn profile – contains much the same information as their resume. It is just displayed in a different medium (digital vs. paper) and format. I think that if you are using your LinkedIn or any other online profile as a work search tool – or if you think potential employers are viewing it in order to assess your fit for their organization – then a lot of the advice we give about how to write a strong resume applies to online profiles as well.

If you are looking for information on creating a LinkedIn profile or for feedback on your profile, I have some good news to share. During the week of 10 March 2014, CAPS is hosting a series of events and presentations under the banner of Professional U: On and off-line. Among the offerings are a seminar on creating a LinkedIn profile and rapid LinkedIn profile reviews. And over the summer we will be developing full one-hour LinkedIn consultations to add to the other types of individual consultations we offer (e.g. resume, c.v. and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, career advising).

Stay tuned!

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