Google got it wrong.
Google for Education created a free applied digital skills curriculum open to all. One vital digital skill is resume creation. Google’s curriculum includes a module on resume creation that recommends using Google Docs for this task. Google reached into the G Suite toolbox and retrieved the wrong tool. This is my argument that Google Slides, not Google Docs, is the right tool for resume creation.
I recently revamped my resume for a job search seeking an edtech coach position. I wanted the resume to achieve its purpose: to compel anyone reading it to invite me to interview. My resume needed to convey my innovative use of technology. Before reading any further, know that your resume is likely a laundry list of bullet points of duties performed at jobs. That is not compelling because everyone has those bullet lists! Please read Anthony Gold’s blog post, Forget Everything You Ever Learned to learn how to write a compelling resume. Then consider my advice for creating it in Google Slides.
Other Possible Tools
Before we look at why Google Slides is so good for resumes, let’s explore other tools I tried like Goldilocks trying three bears’ beds before landing on Google Slides:
- The aforementioned Google Docs – For years I used Microsoft Word to create resumes. When I transitioned to G Suite, I used Google Docs for resumes. Have a look at the Google Docs resume templates:Do they look innovative or creative? I looked at the resume I produced in Google Docs saw nothing that told stories about creativity and technology innovation. So I tried something else.
- Canva – I am a Canva superfan. I used one of Canva’s resume templates but stopped when I encountered a problem. Canva’s resume templates allow only a single hyperlink in a text box. I was unable to use multiple hyperlinks to tell the story of how I match a job’s skills. A deal breaker. So I tried another web-based info-graphic tool, Venngage.
- Venngage – I was able to create a visually appealing resume with Venngage. The editor allowed inserting more than a single hyperlink in a text box. Then I tried to download it as a PDF. I could not download a PDF with multiple hyperlinks unless I purchased a $20-a-month subscription. Additionally, the editor was somewhat cumbersome and not easy-to-use like Canva or Google Slides. Venngage was out. I considered how to recreate what I made in Venngage for free. Google Drawings was an option but it cannot create multiple pages in a single file. Each resume page would have to be a separate Google Drawings file. Then it hit me. There was a tool that could do everything Google Drawings does and more:
USE GOOGLE SLIDES!
Here is what I created:
- For the images of me at the top, I used three images of me presenting professional development and combined them using Canva‘s Twitter header template. I then added the artistic effect to the image using lunapic.com, a surprisingly robust website for adding effects and animation to images.
- I changed the color of the sidebar to add some contrast. To ensure text and background had enough contrast, I used the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker.
- I used color gradients in the small rectangle in the sidebar and the triangle in the lower-right corner. These were not essential, just some artistic flourishes I decided to include.
Why Google Slides is Great for Resumes
- Google Slides default dimensions are not resume-friendly. However, it is easy to click “File” and “Page setup…” to use 8.5x11inch custom dimensions.
- The ability to duplicate slides is essential. Right-clicking a slide in the preview panel on the left side of the editor allows the user to duplicate slides. This ensures precisely matching formatting on each page of the resume. Keep in mind that most potential employers will probably not read past page one.
- Unlike Google Docs, it is easy to create and move text boxes, images, and shapes.
- Google Slides is great for embedding on websites.
- If a resume is viewed embedded on a website, adding a YouTube video could be very useful. A PDF viewed digitally will have a clickable link that opens the YouTube video in a new tab. Having a YouTube video on a resume that will be printed is probably not very effective. Use your judgment when considering YouTube videos.
One Google Slides Drawback
One thing Google Slides is missing is text-wrapping around images. That is the one advantage Google Docs has on Google Slides for creating resumes.
Some Resume Tips
I will conclude by sharing some tips about resumes.
- Place whatever is most relevant and compelling to the job up top. For my last job search, I wanted to get a job as an edtech coach. The top of my resume shows me delivering professional development. The artistic effects communicate that I creatively use technology – a valuable skill for edtech coaching. Years ago, I applied for a Special Education position responsible for teaching multiple subjects. I listed my subject certifications at the very top of my resume. When I interviewed, the very first thing the interviewer said was, “I see you passed a lot of Praxis tests.” My resume told her I had what she needed for the position, exactly as intended! Do not lead with your education background. Only in rare circumstances will advanced degrees be the reason a resume results in an interview.
- Do not use Comic Sans. Please just don’t.
- Keep cover letters brief. No one has time to read that mess. Briefly summarize why you are a good fit. Concisely flesh it out on the resume. If you have more to share do so on your blog, website, or LinkedIn profile.
What do you think? Are you convinced Google is advocating the wrong tool for creating resumes? Will you adjust your applied digital skills curriculum to suggest Google Slides for resume creation? Please comment below or tweet me @TomEMullaney. Thanks for reading.