The Crunch: With conservative layouts and static content across multiple job applications, traditional résumés are losing their effectiveness in the hiring market. Today, employers look for standout designs and position-tailored applicant descriptions. VisualCV gives job seekers access to eye-catching résumé templates and simplifies résumé tailoring for multiple applications. Furthermore, job hunters can create portfolios to showcase their previous work, as well as track views and downloads by recruiters. VisualCV is a unique employment application software because it enables job seekers to customize résumés for applicant tracking systems (ATS) while also creating visually compelling documents for hiring managers.
Recruiting is a competitive business, and most hiring managers spend only six seconds looking at a résumé before moving on to the next one. And a job seeker making it to the next step in the hiring process is becoming more infrequent, as only two percent of applicants are called back for an interview.
Hiring success has become complicated in recent years thanks to the widespread use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) — digital programs that scan résumés to see if applicants have the right criteria for a job. An ATS may look for education history, experience, or skills — all found by keywords included in an applicant’s résumé.
“Over 90% of large companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS), which require a résumé to apply. It is a recruiter’s first point of reference, and a poorly designed résumé will hurt your chances immensely,” VisualCV CEO James Clift told Mashable.
Indeed, the prevalence of ATS usage and other efficiency tools are what prompted James to create VisualCV. Instead of sending a single-template résumé with every job application, candidates can use the VisualCV design tool to tailor a résumé for each unique application.
And VisualCV, with more than 2.6 million members, lets users apply attractive, striking résumé templates that set them apart from other candidates. A well-designed résumé helps candidates share the expertise they will bring to a position — as well as catch the attention of an ATS or hiring manager.
James echoed the importance of differentiation in an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail. “You only have one chance to make a first impression when looking for a new job, which means your résumé needs to be top-notch,” he said.
Traditional Résumés Fail Today’s Employers and Employees
Traditional résumés often fail job applicants because they do not emphasize the information companies need. These résumés often focus on job titles and chronological work experience, but hiring managers are looking for candidates with the skills that will help them achieve results.
VisualCV’s templates emphasize skills over chronology. For one, résumés can begin with a summary section in which candidates describe themselves in paragraph form. Other templates include sections that let candidates detail their qualifications before listing work history.
VisualCV user Greg Hrebek wanted to convey his specialized skill set and accomplishments before his work history. So, Greg created a résumé that included lengthy “Summary” and “Expertise” sections that let him describe his successes first. “There was a substantial amount of information I wanted to convey, and I needed a different approach to the traditional MS Word résumé templates. VisualCV was that solution,” Greg said.
Traditional résumés also fail users because they aren’t tailored to the ATS used by many employers. An ATS chooses candidates by finding application packages with cover letters and résumés that include keywords that most precisely match job requirements.
VisualCV recommends tailoring a résumé for each different position using keywords for skills that match those in the job description. By using that strategy, a job seeker can ensure an application has the best chance to be selected by an ATS for further review.
Another challenge of customizing résumés for an ATS is keeping track of all the different versions. VisualCV lets users track résumé versions as well as changes with a revision history tool available in its visual editor.
Simplifying Résumé Design and Customization for Job Seekers
Résumés don’t always demonstrate job seekers’ personalities, or why they are the best fit for a position. VisualCV helps change that with unique and customizable templates that capture the essence of applicants.
“Everyone’s career is so fluid now. You have your long-term career, the hobbies you have on the weekend, or a side business, and you need a place to showcase those efforts,” James told the Globe and Mail.
VisualCV’s workspace includes a library of free templates, as well as additional versions as part of a paid subscription. These templates are better suited to fit users’ work histories than the standard one-size-fits-all varieties. For example, some templates include friendly fonts, soft accent colors, and room for graphics. Many of the templates even let users insert a picture of themselves — one of the best ways to personalize a résumé.
After choosing a template, job seekers can add or delete sections, as well as personalize content. The VisualCV workspace allows users to add keywords from the job description to a personal tagline or summary.Furthermore, users can add skills requested by the employer to the skills portion of the résumé.
Finally, users can save their résumés in several formats. They can make it a shareable URL to post to their personal website or send to hiring managers. The document can also be saved as a PDF or shared with friends who can offer feedback about its content and style.
The Contemporary CV: Trends and Tips for Applicants
VisualCV enables users to incorporate effective modern résumé trends that grab the attention of employers.
First, the templates encourage users to tell stories about themselves, creating résumés that differentiate them from others. A graphic designer, for example, shouldn’t have a résumé that looks anything like a structural engineer’s. A unique resume can be a powerful marketing tool.
Many job seekers find digital résumés useful. One way to maximize their effect is to include links to relevant work — like news articles or photographs — that might be compelling to a hiring manager. Another is a digital portfolio that lets employers view samples of the work they can expect from a candidate.
Freelance writer and editor Shannon McCarthy personalized her VisualCV with a collection of writing clips and hosted the hybrid résumé/digital portfolio on her professional website.
“I send a targeted cover letter and résumé, plus a link to my VisualCV,” Shannon said. “Presenting a polished and professional introduction is just as important as having the chops to back it up.”
VisualCV: Innovative Designs that Stand Out from the Crowd
Today, traditional résumé templates do not always perform well with employers or applicant tracking systems. And, with so many cluttered, disorganized, and bland templates, hiring managers are looking for fresh résumés that best convey how an applicant fits the position.
Better résumé organization and enabling applicants to highlight their skills in eye-catching packages are two of VisualCV’s guiding principles.
The tool offers customizable résumé templates that ensure job seekers can tell their stories. And that level of individualization can help them land the jobs they want in an employment market overrun with ineffective résumés.
James saw an opportunity to help people market themselves better to employers, hiring managers, and even ATS platforms. Today, VisualCV is the solution to that problem for more than 2 million members.