Resumes Through The Ages… And Beyond

Wednesday, 20. June 2012


Many think the resume is a modern invention, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. From the dawn of time man has had to struggle with the act of crafting the perfect resume in order to get their foot in the door, or cave, or castle.

Here’s a quick look at the evolution of the resume:

Prehistoric Resume (38,000 BC)

The very first resumes where carefully painted on walls of caves, some 40,000 years ago. Their longevity aside, cave painting resumes made it very difficult to apply for a job, as the prospective employer had to come to your home (cave) to take a look at your application. Talk about stressful. If your cavewoman was too busy gathering food and didn’t have time to sweep the hearth, your slovenly ways could very well get you dismissed for the job. This job applicant seems to only have one skill set, hunting.

Egyptian Resume (3200 BC)

Some 35,000 years later the Egyptian’s perfected the portable resume, making it much easier for the unemployed to apply for jobs. Unfortunately a lot of the menial work, such as pyramid building, was already spoken for, making the job market extremely completive. I bet you the early Egyptian’s could really have benefited from the guidance of a professional resume writer.

Indian Resume (3000 BC)

India also developed its own form of pictographs and portable resumes. However the job market was similar to Egypt in the way that all the labour intensive jobs were already fulfilled. In order to find some gainful employment one had to have a skill set they could market, as is obvious in the resume above – pizza maker.

Chinese Resume (1200 BC)

One of the oldest cultures in the world, China, developed their own alphabet around 1200 BC, which was quickly adopted by those looking to impress their prospective employers with a beautifully handwritten resume.

Mesoamerican Resume (900 BC)

One of the oldest samples of Mesoamerican writing was found to be from 900 BC. The garbage that was found near it made it easy to date. Obviously this job applicant’s resume was tossed in the circular filing cabinet. We’re not sure what he was applying for, possibly an ice-cream salesman, but we do know one thing, if your resume format is not easy to follow, most hiring managers will not give it more than a cursory glance.

Greek Resume (800 BC)

In the late 90s and early 2000s there was a big trend on sending a custom resumes, such as those in the form of a giant cookie or some other sort of creative medium. This was not a unique idea by any means. As in many cases, history repeats itself and the first creative use of a resume medium can be seen in the one submitted above, clearly for an assistant-vintner position. He may have been ahead of his time by a few thousand years, but I’m sure he still got the job.

Roman Resume (700 BC)

The Latin alphabet is reportedly based on the Greek’s, so approximately 100 years later the Roman’s too were in the resume game. This lightweight paper design can be thought of as the precursor to the modern day paper resume.

Medieval Resume (900 AD)

In between slaying pagans and heretics medieval knights could find themselves out of a job, so they too had to go through the laborious task of handwriting their own professional resumes.

Renaissance Resume (1492 AD)

There is an internet fallacy that the first resume ever invented was in 1492 by none other then the Renaissance man himself, Leonardo da Vinci. Although this fact may be true, one can never completely trust everything they read on the internet.

20th Century Resumes

By the time the 1900s rolled around resumes started to become a common practice for applying for employment. In the 30s they were very informal, just a few lines hastily scratched down on a piece of scrap paper. By the 40s they evolved to include such statistics as age, weight, height, marital status and religion – pretty much everything that is now illegal to ask for.

The 50s saw the evolution of the formal resume, where it became a requirement for a job application. The 60s began to include such details as unrelated interests, such as long walks on the beach and candle light dinners. The 70s brought in professional resume creation with digital typesetting and word processors. By the 80s applicants rarely mailed or hand-delivered their resumes anymore, it was all about the fax machine.

Finally we reach the 90s and the birth of the internet. Email quickly replaces the fax machine, however the resume structure remains relatively unchanged since the 1950s.

21st century Resumes

The formal resume style that was successful in the 20th century has now evolved to include the technology of the day. Digital, interactive, and social media crafted resumes, which includes such technologies as video resumes, have begun to become the norm. Just take a look at the awesome example above.

The Future Of Resumes

I think George Lucas called it in the first Stars Wars movie; resumes will transcend digital media and be in the form of holograph projections. Please note, to be successful with your future resume we recommend it should never be as needy as Princess Leia’s… it comes off as kinda desperate.

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