Resume trends can be just as tricky to navigate as fashion trends. Best case scenario: you appear relevant and in-tune with the cultural zeitgeist. Worst case scenario: all your hard work and experience comes to the party dressed in acid-washed jeans.
This doesn’t mean you should categorically resist resume trends. After all, standing out in a sea of applicants is the first step toward scoring an interview and getting the job. Taking risks and moving away from the status quo can really pay off in the long run. But, just like when it comes to dressing yourself for a night out, use some common sense and listen to your gut.
Here are four resume trends to handle with caution.
1. Less is more.
People, especially recruiters and hiring managers looking at hundreds of resumes, don’t read. They scan. So, it makes sense to edit down any paragraphs detailing your experience and distill your accomplishments into snappy, scannable headlines and short sentences.
That being said, I’ve seen applicants take this trend to the extreme. To the point where I’ve read through a resume and wondered: “What did this person actually do?”
Aim to be concise, not mysterious. Have a friend review your resume. If they can’t communicate back your primary accomplishments in each position, you’ll know that you’ve taken the minimalist trend to the extreme.
2. The infographic resume.
Here’s the thing with infographic resumes: they’re still uncommon enough to get a little extra attention, but they’re starting to lose their novelty. That means that just having an infographic resume isn’t impressive – it has to be a good infographic resume.
And, unfortunately, so many are just bad. Bad color combinations, cheesy artwork, confusing charts – all of these things make hiring managers question your judgment and your taste. Also, if information can be more easily communicated with sentences and lists, keep it simple. Including an infographic just for the sake of having one can make it look like you’re trying to distract the reader from your actual qualifications.
3. Personal branding.
As job descriptions become fluid and teams lean, “cultural fit” is more of a hiring consideration. Companies want to know that their employees will feel at home and productive in the environment they’ve created. In a job market where personality counts, jobseekers are paying more attention to their personal brands. This is a good thing; you should have a solid understanding of your unique value, what you stand for, your career trajectory and your workstyle.
But keep in mind that a resume is just one document with a specific function; it can’t (and shouldn’t) say everything about who you are. Stay focused on the facts and avoid subjective-sounding declarations about your personality. Don’t bother with an “Interests” section; it’s better if those topics come up organically in an interview. And while your outlook on life may be all hot pink and Comic Sans, remember that clarity and readability should be prioritized. Also, unless you’re applying for a position that includes on-camera work, never include a photo of yourself. Doing so makes you look like a delusional narcissist.
4. Including social.
Can your Twitter feed or personal blog be an asset during a job search? Absolutely. But only if you tweet and blog about topics that are relevant to your industry, or if your content helps demonstrate your aptitude for the job. Otherwise, leave your handles off of your resume. For example, live tweeting the last six seasons of “The Bachelor” could help you get an interview with a pop culture or gossip website, but it probably won’t impress an HR manager of a nonprofit organization.
Jenessa Connor is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and young adult author. If you don’t find her in front of her computer, check the local movie theaters and restaurants, Prospect Park or the gym at CrossFit 718.