Before you bribe one of your designer friends to spruce up your résumé in exchange for a bottle of flat Champagne (oops) and your undying affection, just stop—is it even worth it? True, an immaculately margin-aligned specimen stands out in a stack, but is it *too* earnest, like "my qualifications aren't that stellar but my taste in parchment sure is?"
To quiet your fears and maybe stir up some new ones, four career experts comment below.
Votes no: Dona Sarkar, principal product manager at Microsoft
"It's not worth getting your résumé professionally designed. Hiring managers are much more interested in seeing your work than reading about it. Instead, spend that time creating a space online to show what you do. Coding on HitHub, design on Behance, writing on a website or Medium, speaking on YouTube or a podcast. Then have your résumé be the movie trailer."
Votes yes: Christen Bavero, career coach and expert at Institute for Coaching
"You have less than five seconds to make an impression on the person screening your résumé. That's right! Less than five seconds. That's how much time the average résumé gets. While nothing is more valuable during a job search than building and nurturing your network, having your résumé quickly tell a powerful and evocative story is a critical ingredient in a successful job hunt."
Votes no: Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn career expert
"Gone are the days when you have to get on a recruiter's radar the old-fashioned way. Now you can attract job opportunities and expand your professional network with a LinkedIn profile. Create a robust summary to put your best foot forward—a summary of 40 words or more makes you more likely to turn up in a future employer's search. Share content with your network at least once a week (studies show you're nearly 10 times more likely to be contacted by a recruiter that way). And publish long-form content—posts on LinkedIn see six times the views from people outside of your immediate network."
Votes maybe: Dr. Michael Woodward, workplace psychologist
"It really depends. Today most job applications are via the web, so a fancy résumé is pretty irrelevant. Even if you take the time to put together and format a nice digital document, chances are it won't get viewed the way you sent it. Most mid-sized to large companies now have applicant-tracking systems that pull key words and phrases from your résumé and organize them according to their own algorithms.
That's why customizing is key! Always make sure you provide the best information in the most appropriate way as specified by the employer. Customizing your approach shows genuine interest.
From a job-search perspective, spend less time on your résumé and more time on your LinkedIn and other social media accounts. The fact is this is where employers go to both search and vet candidates, so your online presence is really your first impression and your best chance of getting in the door. Also, make sure all of your social media accounts are consistent in how they represent your professional brand."
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