Origin of the word ‘Résumé’ and some recent usage trends

resumeDictionary.com defines a résumé (resume) as a “brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.”

Originating somewhere between 1795 and 1805 the word résumé is derived from the French word ‘résumer’, and converts an original past participle into a noun.

The history behind the résumé

It’s claimed that Leonardo da Vinci was the first person to create a résumé when he sent a letter to a potential employer (Ludovico Sforza) some time between 1481–1482.

For the next 450 years, the resume consisted of a person’s skills and former occupation. It was only in the early 1900s that a resume started mentioning a person’s weight, height, marital status, and religion.

This use of resumes did not become mandatory until 1950. It was then that ‘Personal Interests’ and ‘Hobbies’ section started showing up.

By the 1980s everything started to become digitized and resumes became more professional in terms of presentation and content.

The latest trends around resumes – what to follow and what to ignore

As the world has changed so have trends around resume writing.

From its humble beginnings as a simple letter the resume is now an important job recruitment tool. Whether you’re a new graduate or someone with 30 years experience you won’t get a job interview without submitting a resume. In addition, your resume must keep up with fast-changing trends.

Three latest trends

Keep it brief

Studies show that a typical recruiter will look at a resume for less than 8 seconds. This means you have less than 8 seconds to make an impact and must make every word count. Use of an optimized resume format has proved to be extremely helpful in landing a professional job.

Optimized resume formats encourage the use of ‘power verbs’ to present your skills and abilities to a potential recruiter so they can easily determine whether you’re qualified for the job you’re applying for.

Your resume should offer value over showmanship.The ideal length is one page for professionals with less than 10 years of work experience and two pages for professionals whose work experience exceeds 10 years.

Include hyperlinks

Most resumes today are sent online. The advantage to online transmission is you keep your resume short and can add additional information via hyperlinks that show your unique value to a potential employer.

Appropriate links to provide include a LinkedIn profile (among other social media) to let the recruiter gain insight into any advantages you may have over other candidates.

Only hyperlink relevant content that makes you stand out as a candidate and properly highlights information that is relevant to the position you’re seeking.

Insert digital add-ons

A short video in lieu of a cover letter may also add the likelihood of your being seriously considered for the position. A recruiter is more likely to click on a video than read a resume front to end.

You can also include a digital portfolio if the job you’re applying for is product-based – e.g. architect or a fashion designer.

Two trends to avoid

Compromising functionality for design

One recent trend is the use of eye-grabbing templates to create a resume such as colors and weird formatting to complex graphics. While these may would look good they are unlikely to get you hired.

Fancy resumes are likely to fail to make it through gatekeeping technology such as the Applicant Tracking System as these systems cannot read complex designs and graphics. It is designed to shortlist candidates by reading keywords and industry buzzwords. So, rather than making an attractive resume, aim at making one that appeases these bots.

Sticking to a basic yet sophisticated template is your best bet. Make sure the headlines and important information pops out. Use basic techniques like bolding to make things like your core skills and education stand out.


Recruiters appreciate hard data like performance figures but you have to know where to draw the line. There is no point in scoring skills on a scale of 1 to 10 in the name of quantification. This helps no one and adds no value to your resume . Simply listing your skills in a section labeled “Skillsets” is sufficient.


The resume has been adapted over time to fit different eras. It has shifted from a simple letter to its current digitized form. Regardless of societal changes its purpose has remained the same and that is to get you the job you desire and have trained for.

Shift Frequency © 2020 – Origin of the word ‘resume’
and some recent u

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