A resume is a marketing tool in which the content should be adapted to suit each individual job application or applications aimed at a particular industry. The transmission of resumes directly to employers became increasingly popular as late as 2002. Job seekers were able to circumvent the job application process and reach employers through direct email contact and resume blasting, a term meaning the mass distribution of resumes to increase personal visibility within the job market.
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.
However, the mass distribution of resumes to employers can often have a negative effect on the applicant's chances of securing employment as the resumes tend not to be tailored for the specific positions the applicant is applying for. It is usually, therefore, more sensible to optimize the resume for each position applied for and its keywords. In order to keep track of all experiences, keeping a 'master resume' document is recommended, providing job-seekers with the ability to customize a tailored resume while making sure extraneous information is easily accessible for future use if needed.
Another important decision that has to be made about the development of a resume is the format it should follow and the most common approach is use of a chronological style. This approach lists each job in chronological or date order and the most current job is listed at the top of the page. The inherent problem with this type of resume is that the focus is placed on what the candidate is doing now without drawing attention to the skills that have been acquired throughout their entire career.
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