Face it. Resumes aren’t going away anytime soon. But they aren’t the end all, be all either.
Thankfully the world is changing, and more firms are looking past the resume and deeper into what makes up a potential employee. And you have more to show than simply your resume when you go for that new job.
Here are three important pieces of resume advice so you can demonstrate your value to potential employers beyond just the resume document.
1. Professional Portfolio. The idea of a professional portfolio may seem like an idea that applies only to artists and photographers. The reality is that we all need portfolios of our professional work. Whether you are a CAD professional, an engineer, or a baker, you should have a catalog of your biggest projects and proudest achievements. List client names, project descriptions, and fees billed (if possible). Remember that every entry should have a story that accompanies it, ready to make your potential employer understand the full scope of the project and its success.
Practice It: Gather your five best projects, whatever they are. Show your work in its best light with photos, sketches, plan sheets, or calculation sketches. Write a one-paragraph description explaining why this represents your best work. Include the pertinent details, and make it all easily accessible through an online presence. Just remember to examine what client information you are able to share, and when in doubt, leave it out.
2. Outside Projects. When I go to hire people, I am just as interested in their personal projects as I am in their professional projects. The reason is that personal projects display two very important things: motivation and the ability to produce.
Your personal projects (and it is important that we all have personal projects) show that you are someone who views their career as more than just a 9-to-5 job. It is part of who you are and fuels a passion that produces. That is the earmark of talented people. What if your outside projects are not job-related? It makes no difference. Outside production success is critical in this new job market. Show yours off!
Practice It: Are you an architect who volunteers services to build animal shelters? Are you an engineer who is an award-winning Lego model builder? Or are you a CAD professional who is a prolific artist? Whatever your outside projects, gather them in a way that is similar to that listed for professional projects. Make them easily viewable, and list the link on your personal contact information. You worked hard, so let it work for you, too.
3. Freelance. Possibly the most controversial idea of this new job market is that talented, creative people will—and often do—freelance. There are CAD professionals who freelance as trainers, content creators, or photographers. This is true of a countless number of professionals in a countless number of fields. More and more employers not only recognize this new reality, but they also actively support it. They realize that hiring talented, motivated freelancers demonstrates a world of beneficial skills to make their business a success.
Practice It: It probably goes without saying that successful freelancers already have their blog, email address, or other contact information included on their personal contact email and business cards. As a freelancer, you undoubtedly have a LinkedIn account, a Facebook or Twitter presence, and are not hard to find in a Google search.
What you may not be doing is sharing that information on your cover letter, initial contact email, or personal business card when you visit a potential employer. It’s important to let your possible new boss know all you have to offer.
Move Past the Resume. You may find that even though more employers will look deeper, the resume remains a perfunctory step. So go ahead, update your resume, and check that box off. Then sit down to gather, detail, or create a collection of information and work that will better represent who you are and all the value you bring to the table!