Many employers now find candidates' resumes through search engines, which makes it more important for candidates to use appropriate keywords when writing a resume. Larger employers use Applicant Tracking Systems to search, filter, and manage high volumes of resumes. Job ads may direct applicants to email a resume to a company or visit its website and submit a resume in an electronic format.
One of the first misconceptions that people hold about the use of resumes is that they are never actually read, especially when there are online application forms to be filled out. While this cannot be proven either way, I do know from my own experience as a professional writer that most recruiters do look at the resumes received because it provides a general overview of the candidate's attention to, or lack thereof, details such as the style and type of writing.
As the search for employment has become more electronic, it is common for employers only to accept resumes electronically, either out of practicality or preference. This has changed much about the way resumes are written, read, and processed. Some career experts are pointing out that today a paper-based resume is an exception rather than the rule.
As has been indicated above, the word resume comes from the French word resume meaning "summary". Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the first resume though his "resume" takes the form of a letter written about 1481–1482 to a potential employer, Ludovico Sforza. For the next roughly 450 years, the resume continued to be a mere description of a person, and included their abilities and past employment. In the early 1900s, resumes listed things like weight, height, marital status, and religion. It was not until 1950 that the resume evolved into something more than words written on scraps of paper. By then, resumes were considered very much mandatory, and started to include things like personal interests and hobbies. It was not until the 1970s, the beginning of the digital age, that resumes took on a more professional look in terms of presentation and content.
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