Friday, April 8, 2011

PLN: What's Your Structure?

Although it may not necessarily be time to throw out your paper resume, the digital resume is something you might turn to in this age of technology and social networking. Throughout the semester I have been collecting data from a number of sources (Twitter, Delicious, & RSS Feeds from blogs on GoogleReader) and have accumulated quite a bit of data for my PLN project. The focus of my personal learning project is on digital resumes. The dynamic of the workforce is changing and since I will soon be joining this ever-changing community I thought it would be not only interesting but also helpful to my own future career to be well versed in how to build an online/digital resume. This is the first of four blogs related to this project and they will serve as a how-to as I make my own digital resume, as well as answer particular questions that I found necessary to answer in order to understand the process of creating a digital resume.

The first focus regarding digital resumes that needs to be addressed is what the structure of a resume needs to be like. I wanted to know what type of organization would attract future employers and ultimately benefit me the most. So before I started I decided to filter through Delicious and GoogleReader for some crucial information that revealed how the digital resume differs from a paper resume in a number of ways and therefore requires a different approach when setting it up. One article which I was particularly surprised by was Resume, Meet Technology: Making Your Resume Format Machine-Friendly. This article discussed that attaching a photo to one's digital resume could "Choke" ATS which is a a software program that companies use as an "Applicant Tracking System". Basically what this asserts is that because digital resumes run through software systems before getting to employers, as opposed to going directly to the hands of humans, you have to be very conscious of what you are putting in your digital resume as to avoid being filtered out before even being seen by an employer.

In addition there are factors to a digital resume that are shared with a paper resume and that is how you present yourself. In How to Write a Killer Resume multiple objectives for the content that you put into your digital resume are presented. These include some basic things that everyone writing a digital or in that matter a paper resume need to know. Some of these things may seem repetitive, but I think it is important for everyone to have a thorough understanding of what information needs to be included and how to present it to your greatest advantage. One point made in the article is to include facts about yourself rather than adjectives. I found this point particularly helpful because typically when you are asked to describe yourself you say you are achievement-oriented, work well with others, etc. The article suggests that you will come out more attractive as well as transparent to employers reviewing your digital resume.

Another critical element when looking into the format of a digital resume is to decide between two typical structures. According to @SusanIreland, in her blog post What Resume Format Should I Use?, there are two formats commonly used for resumes and it is important to establish which one to use; chronological or chronological-with-skills headings. In another post by Ireland, she discusses the need for both magnet and grabber resumes. This generally refers to having a general resume as well as a resume dedicated to any specific job that you might want to pursue. I found these posts as helpful to keep in mind when creating a digital resume.

The research conducted on how a digital resume should be structure has made it clear that there is no one exact way to construct a digital resume, but that there are various aspects that need to be incorporated into a digital resume in order to set it up effectively for future employers. Keeping this in mind I began to mold my own digital resume using which was a highly bookmarked site on Delicious. The website takes you step by step through the process of setting up a digital resume and keeping the structural elements I have learned in mind I am on my way to a professional and effective digital resume! 


  1. In this crowded job market, a well written and persuasive resume cover letter can make a potential candidate stand out among many applicants. Job seekers should research and implement tips on how to write an employment cover letter.
    Ideally, the cover letter should be addressed to the hiring manager or point person in the department. Usually this person is the supervisor or manager who will be receiving the application from their human resources department, headhunter, or directly from the applicant. If the name of the hiring person is not stated in the job materials, the applicant should make an effort to find out. Calling the human resources department or general company phone line to obtain this information would be a start.

    employment tips

  2. Thank you so much for your comment! That is great advice that I am definitely going to use for my PLN and resume. Since I'm just starting out in the work force any contributions are greatly appreciated!