Dear Sam: As an adjunct professor, I have created a CV and embedded links to my website so potential employers can view my training certificates, teaching evaluations, diplomas, and lists of seminars and other presentations. I was wondering what your take is on that approach. – Ben

Dear Ben: My first question would be, does that add value? If the answer is yes, I think that is a perfectly appropriate approach that could add to reader engagement for select hiring managers. As you attached your CV, I could see what those links provided; however, I question the value this adds to your case. The training certificates and diplomas are unnecessary. One does not assume you are falsifying information, so listing training on your CV will suffice; there is no need for someone to look at the certificate. The lists of seminars and presentations are also contained on your CV, so there is no additional value in taking the reader to a link to see the same list twice. As for the teaching evaluations, as they are difficult to read and only a handful of each of the comments are constructive comments from college students, I would lean toward pulling select excerpts out on your CV versus sending a reader to a link where they will need to comb through lots of comments to read a few strong ones.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, your website is very outdated. When you give someone a reason to jump off from reading your resume, the information they are pushed toward needs to be impressive, add value, and reinforce the professionalism of your candidacy. I fear you developed your website in the late ’90s when we were all learning rudimentary web development and design. Because of this, your website will reflect poorly on your candidacy and how relevant your skills are. Granted, I know you are not teaching web design or programming, but you must always consider the impression every aspect of your candidacy will make—from online to in-person. I am confident you can create your best brand on your CV without the use of external links, and that would be my recommendation.

Dear Sam: I graduated with a degree in communications four years ago, but I ended up outside my field after graduation. I’m willing to go back to an entry-level job if it means being able to secure a communications position, but I’m afraid I’ll be overlooked because I don’t have any recent, relevant experience. I’ve revamped my resume to give it more personality—and have received some advice from friends and family—but I’m still worried. Have I given it too much character? Is this a resume that would stand out in a crowd in a good way? – Beth

Dear Beth: Great job stepping outside of the box and thinking about how you could uniquely present your candidacy! I applaud your creativity and willingness to do something bold! I believe the design of your resume will glean some attention, but I am concerned hiring managers will not know what you want and who you are.

The key piece you are missing from your well-designed resume is a positioning statement. You do not have a qualifications summary, so the reviewer will be forced to evaluate you as you have been. By that, I mean the reader will only have information to believe you are positioning yourself as a property management assistant as that is how your resume opens based on your current position. This is precisely what you don’t want. To avoid that unfortunate assumption, you must position your candidacy.

Given your field of study was communications, I imagine you know a little about marketing, messaging, and positioning information on a page to attract the reader and prioritize their scan. Take advantage of this knowledge when you present the value of your candidacy for a communications role. Build a summary that promotes the transferability of your professional and pre-graduation experiences, combined with the strengths of your academic program and courses of study. I am confident when you have a little more attention to content and messaging, coupled with your beautiful design, you will be exceptionally successful.