By David Chilton
Special to The Toronto Sun
Any employment counsellor worthy of their title knows a sharp resume is an indispensable part of the job seeker's toolkit. The trouble is, even if it's been honed to a razor-like edge, a resume remains a page or two of paper stapled together much like the hundreds or thousands of others that busy HR administrators receive every year.
But for the early adopter, that daring individual who wants to be the first to try something new or gain a step or two on the competition, there's the electronic resume to consider.
Unlike the huge numbers of resumes posted on job sites in Canada and around the world and subject to all sorts of filtering by specialized software, the e-resume is personal, and who sees it is decided solely by the job seeker.
In these, the early days of the e-resume, few choices exist with regards to suppliers or formats, although that situation will change as they become more embraced by the IT, sales and marketing and advertising and design sectors.
One kind of e-resume comes on CD or mini CD and can be handed out much like a business card or sent to a potential employer in the same way as its paper counterpart.
Chris Forbes, president of Marketyourself.ca in London, Ont., says the e-resume's potential for growth is unlimited.
"The interest in the idea is spectacular," says Forbes, whose firm began two years ago and has already attracted interest from entrepreneurs interested in acquiring a Marketyourself.ca franchise.
"The CD approach allows job seekers to hit the street just as they would with a traditional resume," says Forbes, except ink on paper doesn't allow 10 to 12 minutes of a videotaped interview, a complete resume and a portfolio of previous work -- a requirement for certain industries such as advertising and design -- in a neat package that won't bend or tear.
Darren Marsland, owner and director of WOWresume.com in Guelph, echoes Forbes' views about the e-resume still being in its infancy, but harbours no doubts that once the child starts to grow and put on weight, it will demand consideration.
"It's a way for a resume to stand out from the crowd," Marsland says. "It's a way for job seekers to present an interactive, multimedia resume to employers."
Marsland, mindful that the technology behind the e-resume might baffle or intimidate would-be users -- and so deter them -- has made his web-based service simple to use, and a resume can be prepared in less than 10 minutes. Once that's done, WOWresume.com will either burn 10 30 MB mini CDs for customers or they can write them themselves straight from the Net.
The other half of the e-resume duo is Web-based video. Both Marketyourself.ca and WOWresume.com offer the service either by itself or as part of a CD and video combo. Marketyourself's entire package costs $144 and comprises four to six minutes of a job seeker's taped interview posted at the Marketyourself Web site and a CD to reproduce as many times as the customer sees fit. WOWresume.ca's charges vary, but for $99.95 its customers get their interview posted on the Web and 10 burned mini CDs.
Forbes and Marsland say employers can watch potential hires' video interviews - which Marketyourself and WOWresume or the job seekers themselves can tape - using password-protected access. Since starting WOWresumes.com in January Marsland says he's encountered no security problems with either his video or his CD resumes.
Martin Buckland, president of Elite Resumes in Oakville, Ont., Canada's only master resume writer and one of just four in the world, says paper resumes will be around for years to come, but agrees the e-resume has its uses, particularly for showcasing one's portfolio.
"The e-resume is another tool for the job seeker to use," Buckland says. Three of his latest clients may want to consider it. They're former Tory cabinet ministers defeated in the recent Ontario election.
(Reach freelancer David Chilton at email@example.com
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