Your Resume Won't Help You Stand Out — This Will

Jalen Carter
25 April 2024
5 min read

The traditional resume, once considered the gold standard for job applications, is facing a formidable challenger: the professional portfolio. 

As hiring managers and recruiters seek more comprehensive insights into candidates' skills, experiences, and capabilities, they are increasingly favoring job portfolios over traditional resumes. Let's delve into why this shift is occurring and the significant advantages that job portfolios offer over their conventional counterparts.

The Limitations of Resumes

For decades, the resume was the best tool for job seekers to showcase their qualifications, work history, and achievements. However, in today’s digital era, they are falling out of favor due to a few reasons:

  • Inability to showcase skills: While resumes efficiently list qualifications and job history, they do little to demonstrate a candidate's actual skills in action. Hiring teams are left to have multi-round interviews to assess skill level or assume proficiency based on stated qualifications rather than tangible evidence.
  • One-dimensional: Resumes typically follow a standardized format, offering a linear and often superficial overview of a candidate's career trajectory. This hurts applicants with non-linear backgrounds or applicants with more project-based work instead of companies to list (e.g. students, career changers, people with many side projects, etc.).
  • De-emphasizes personality: Values, character, personality, and other "soft skills" are harder to develop than hard skills. Yet, they're equally as essential — if not more important. Resumes place emphasis on hard skills over soft skills, which lead hiring teams to overlook crucial aspects that contribute to long-term success in a role.
  • Lack social proof: Having other people vouch for you can make all of the difference. Resume formats today lack a place for testimonials, referrals, and other social proof that speaks to how you show up as an employee.
  • Hard to validate: Let's face it, anyone can write anything on their resume. ChatGPT and the landscape of other AI resume tools have further clouded candidates’ credentials and delegitimized resumes as valid tools to predict job fit. The best hiring process is one where candidates with real, proven skills rise to the top.
The Benefits of a Professional Portfolio

In contrast to resumes, professional portfolios offer a visually-striking, nuanced, and personable approach to presenting one's professional identity. Here's why hiring managers are increasingly drawn to job portfolios and why candidates with a job portfolio are more likely to get the interviews and offers:

  • Comprehensive representation: Unlike resumes, which focus primarily on listing facts — e.g. professional experience, skills, achievements, etc. — portfolios provide a fuller picture. This can range from accomplishments, personal projects, volunteer work, certifications, and testimonials. Even more, it tells a more complete story of a person's values, character, and skills. This holistic view provides hiring managers with a more well-rounded understanding of a candidate's capabilities.
  • Visual representation: A picture is worth 1,000 words. Job portfolios allow candidates to showcase their work in a visually-striking manner. Through samples of projects, designs, writing samples, or presentations, candidates can provide tangible evidence of their skills and expertise.
  • Demonstration of skills: Adding projects and case studies are what make portfolios shine. These provide concrete examples of a candidate's capabilities, allowing hiring managers to assess skills directly rather than relying on vague descriptions. Whether it's coding projects, creative designs, or marketing campaigns, portfolios offer tangible proof of competence.
  • Highlights personality: Portfolios offer context around each showcased work, allowing candidates to explain the challenges they faced, the strategies they employed, and the results they achieved. This deeper understanding enables hiring managers to make more informed assessments of a candidate's potential impact.
  • Personal branding: Portfolios offer an opportunity for candidates to express their personal brand and unique value proposition. By curating their best work and presenting it in a cohesive manner, candidates can differentiate themselves and leave a lasting impression on hiring managers.
Embracing the Shift

As the demand for talent continues to intensify in today's competitive job market, hiring managers are recognizing the limitations of traditional resumes and embracing the versatility of professional portfolios. By leveraging portfolios, organizations can make more informed hiring decisions, identify top talent more effectively, and build teams that are not only qualified but also aligned with their culture and values.

For job seekers, this shift underscores the importance of investing in the development of a comprehensive and visually compelling portfolio that effectively showcases their skills, experiences, and personality. By embracing this evolution in the recruitment process, both hiring managers and candidates can move towards a more transparent, insightful, and mutually beneficial approach to talent acquisition.

Getting started with portfolios
  • Portfolio-builders (e.g. Pearl): The quickest and most comprehensive option. Create a shareable portfolio on Pearl, that you can easily track, collect feedback on, and add your work to. Use our templates designed with and for hiring managers.
  • Presentations (e.g. Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, Canva): These are good in a pinch. They’re often familiar, user friendly, and give you the tools to tell your story in a way that employers receive well. For analytics, some combine with link tracking services like
  • Website builders (e.g. Cargo, Wix, Squarespace): This is the most expressive option. They can be great tools for the most flexibility in telling your story and for wowing hiring teams. If you have the time and interest, it can do just about anything you want.

In conclusion, the rise of job portfolios represents a paradigm shift in how hiring managers evaluate candidates, moving beyond the constraints of traditional resumes to embrace a more dynamic and holistic approach to talent assessment. Those embracing portfolios gain a competitive advantage, while those without risk lagging behind. Pearl aims to level the playing field, providing access to portfolios to empower all candidates to stand out and succeed in a crowded job market.

Jalen Carter
11 Jan 2022
5 min read