The Resume Evolution: How The Resume Changed in 20 Years


How resume trends changed in 20 yearsDid you know that the resumes as we know them only appeared 70 years ago? Since the 1950s, they went a long way from being a pure formality to becoming a personal marketing tool. The expert resume writers of have followed this change and are ready to present you how. To increase your chances for an interview, it’s important to consider the most recent 2022 resume trends.

How did the resumes evolve?

The most recent changes in resume writing and methods of a job application are triggered by the internet. Some of these changes are so radical that if your resume was written over 5 years ago, it already looks outdated. And such a resume can’t help you much in landing an interview.

If you need some help with writing a perfect resume, our experts can help. We’ve been providing resume writing assistance for 10+ years, and always keep at the edge of current resume trends. Your personal resume assistant will consider all requirements and create an eye-catchy and effective resume, helping you land the job you want.

Did you know? The first resume ever was created in 1482 by Leonardo Da Vinci. The fact of his inventing of resume comes as little surprise given the rich heritage of the Italian inventor and artist. However, it’s only in the 1950s that applying for jobs with a resume became common. As the resume trends change rapidly, we’ll consider the last 20 years of resume writing trends.

Resume 20 years ago: 7 major trends

In the late 1990s, the internet and email were in the germ. Although a couple of career websites appeared, the lion’s share of jobs was filled through printed ads and networking. Microsoft Word had existed for many years, but most likely you still had to print that resume on a paper sheet to apply.

So, how did a successful resume looked like in 1999? Let’s take a look at the key components your resume had to have:

  1. Personal information was still acceptable to include
    Today, we don’t put personal details in a resume. Not only this is inappropriate, but also it can be a reason for rejecting you. Twenty years ago the rules in the job market were different and it was okay to put your date of birth or marital status on a resume.
  2. It started with an objective
    For many years, resumes used to start with the cliché objectives: “To obtain a challenging position where I can utilize my skills”. This line wasn’t much informative, yet it was a standard resume format back then. Some candidates just skipped an objective and went to the next section.
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  3. Generic resumes were common
    The term ‘resume tailoring’ appeared only recently as the ATS appeared. In late 1990s, it was a common practice to create one version of your resume and send it in response to all job postings. Resumes were read by real recruiters and human resource managers, so there wasn’t any need to adapt each resume for different jobs. 
  4. Resumes were black and white
    Twenty years ago all resumes had a similar design: black text on the white sheet of paper. It wasn’t considered necessary to care much about the way your resume looks. Let alone the fact that most services and tools that offer resume design didn’t exist. The resume was a plain text on an A4 sheet, and everyone was okay with that.
  5. The format was a minor consideration
    Resume in 1999 had to look neat. Nobody appreciated cluttered, unstructured text even back then. However, job-seekers used pretty much the same format – reverse chronological. Resume formatting wasn’t trending, though – boldfacing company names and capitalizing the section subheading is pretty much all formatting you could find in a resume.
  6. The experience was all about job duties
    When people described their work history, they were mostly focused on their job duties. The resume was focused on applicant’s circle of responsibilities and skills. And this was considered normal – nobody actually expected you to brag your accomplishments.
  7. ‘One-page rule’ was the king
    The preconception that a resume has to be no longer than one page still confuses some job-seekers. However, 20-30 years ago most people didn’t change jobs so often, so this rule justified itself.

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7 resume trends of 2019

Over the past 20 years, the resumes have changed visually. Nobody is surprised by a graphic or even video resume. The competition has grown due to globalization, and so have the requirements from the resumes. Now it’s not enough to simply list what you have done in the course of your career. You are expected to stand out from lots of other similarly qualified applicants.

  1. Resume starts with a targeted career summary
    Today, all effective resume starts with the summary. It serves as an elevator pitch – communicates your key professional strengths and the value you can bring. Typically, the summary is 3-5 sentences in length and reflects upon your skills, accomplishments, past experience, etc. Ideally, this summary is written specifically for a certain job posting.
  2. Links to your professional social media are welcomed
    Everyone has a LinkedIn account these days. Many job-seekers also have their professional website or blog where they share the samples of their work or write about valuable insights for other professionals. Adding the links to any professional resources into the resume increases your chances of getting noticed and interviewed.
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  3. Resume formats are more advanced
    With the abundance of graphic design tools and online services, it’s possible to give your resume any appearance you want. Lines, charts, logos, columns, color – you can create a resume design from scratch or to use a ready template. It’s also easy to customize your resume without changing the entire document. However, keep in mind that the design still has to remain professional. The background with kitties is probably not the best idea.
  4. Resumes are accomplishment-driven
    Employers today look for people who are ready to exceed their expectations. The easiest way to show you’re an ‘achiever’ not a ‘doer’ is to write about your past accomplishments. And if the hiring manager sees you’ve achieved a lot in the past, they believe you’ll perform as well if they hire you. Hence, showing the measurable results from your past jobs dramatically increase your chances for an interview. A resume which doesn’t have them has very little chances of getting noticed.
  5. Keywords make all the difference
    To cope with the hundreds of resume they receive, employers now use the automated software that checks all inbound resumes. It checks each resume for specific keywords, which are typically the skills or qualifications that a job requires. Resumes that don’t have the relevant qualifications get trashed. So, a good modern resume should be rich in relevant keywords to make it to the next stage of screening.
  6. Resume tailoring has become a routine
    The necessity to customize a resume doesn’t surprise anyone. To help your resume pass the above-mentioned automated selection, you need to customize it for a specific job. It takes time and effort, yet it’s the only way to get noticed. Resume mass-mailing doesn’t work anymore as generic resumes don’t make it through the ATS.
  7. Visual and infographic resumes are on the rise
    Visual, infographic and video resumes are a brand new way to grab the hiring manager’s attention. They are preferred by job-seekers in creative industries (such as design, programming, photography or marketing). However, you can email a creative resume to the hiring manager even if you’re not in these industries. If you want to find out more about creating a visual resume, read our recent blog post here

As you can see, the rules of the game in resume writing have changed a lot over the 20 years. Now your resume has to be better designed and accomplishment-driven. More importantly, it has to show what makes you unique in comparison with other candidates. For more information about resume trends in 2019, go here.

Want a resume written up to the most recent resume standards?

The writers of Resumeperk com always keep up with the latest resume trends. If you haven’t updated a resume for a few years, our experts can update it and fix any mistakes that hold your resume back. We will adapt the resume for your dream job posting to increase your chance of getting noticed. Also, once you’ve placed an order, you’ll be able to talk to your writer anytime and request free updates if necessary.

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Our experienced writers can create a powerful resume suitable for each position. However, you may also request a specific resume depending on the job you are applying for, thus it will be tailored individually for your profession:

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