Are you up on the top resume & cover letter trends of 2012-2013? Many articles posted on line are old and outdated. Thankfully, each year Career Thought Leaders releases an up-to-date report on current job search trends… and the 2012 report has been released!Resume and Cover Letter Trends

Findings of 2012 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers covers topics including Career Marketing Communications (my focus), Job Search, Career Planning & Management, Career Counseling & Coaching, The Changing Employment Landscape, and Challenges for Career Professionals. I invite you to read the full report to get a picture of job search trends in all these areas. What follows is a summary of top trends in Resumes & Cover Letters, LinkedIn® Profiles and Video/Multimedia presentations. The Essay Expert will be following these recommendations and I hope you will too!

Resumes & Cover Letters

Resumes are not dead, despite the fact that some people do get interview offers based solely on their social media profiles and video presentations. In most fields, resumes remain the central career marketing document, around which all other materials (LinkedIn® profile, networking resume, bio, etc.) revolve.

  • Ideal length is two pages for most mid- to senior-level professionals; the presentation must be such that the information is readily absorbed in 6-10 seconds.
  • A portfolio of additional, consistently branded materials, including an Executive Summary for senior players, is welcomed by decision-makers; this compilation paints a full picture of what an accomplished applicant offers.
  • An exact street address is no longer necessary, but a LinkedIn® URL is recommended.
  • Numbers speak louder than words, so include any you can! Also include CAR (Challenge-Action-Result) or STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) stories to demonstrate your value.
  • Each resume must be tailored to the job description. You will need multiple versions to be truly effective.
  • Quotes/testimonials are becoming more and more accepted—and perhaps even expected—on resumes.
  • Photos are still a no-no in the United States for anyone looking for full-time employment; in Europe and the UK, however, photos remain standard.
  • Document Format requirements vary depending on your audience. Some organizations and job search sites accept fully formatted resumes in .doc or .pdf format; others require Word documents or text-based files.
  • Gmail addresses are the standard, and aol addresses are seen as antiquated, especially for tech jobs.
  • Brief, tailored cover letters are still welcome by some HR and hiring managers, so best practice is to include one that makes you stand out.
  • The old “snail mail” tradition of sending a resume on nice bond paper is also not dead! You can make an impression by doing so and get some attention.
  • If you are working with a recruiter, do whatever the recruiter directs you to do. You can use your more highly formatted resume when interacting directly with hiring managers.


LinkedIn® is absolutely essential to your job search strategy. Sure, you can be on facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but LinkedIn® is the one non-negotiable. Did you know that recruiters will often accept LinkedIn® connection requests even though they will not read an unsolicited resume?

Once on LinkedIn®, recommendations are as follows:

  • Prioritize keywords and recommendations (vs. endorsements).
  • Update your profile and activity status regularly.
  • There is no need to purchase a Premium account in order to get value from your LinkedIn® presence.
  • LinkedIn® is not a silver bullet! Simply having a great profile does not guarantee success; you must participate in discussions and “take it off line” to get full value from the site.
  • Your LinkedIn® profile should complement, not copy, your resume.

VideoBios, Web Portfolios, Visual CVs & Other Multimedia Tools

  • Web portfolios are becoming common, especially for those in the graphic arts field. A web presence may soon be expected for job seekers in some fields! Consistent branding is key.
  • Video resumes are more accepted and utilized on the West Coast than elsewhere, but they have not taken off as anticipated. It seems social media profiles such as LinkedIn® are still winning out.
  • Some recruiters like video resumes/bios and Skype. Word to the wise: If you choose to present yourself through video, make sure you use high level technology! A poor quality video image, whether in a video or a Skype conversation, can be worse than no video at all.

I hope the above “hot-off-the-press” advice from top career professionals supports what you’re already doing or encourages you to head in a new direction. Read the full report here. If The Essay Expert can help, let us know! We are available at 608-467-0067 or through our Web Form.

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