As the old adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” – or in the case of your career, an example of your work may pack a more powerful message than only the words on your resume. But if a job application doesn’t specifically request samples or a portfolio, is it appropriate to use links to your work? According to career coach and job search expert Clayton Wert, absolutely.
Using links in your online resume, cover letter, or any other field in a job application is not only acceptable, in some cases, aptly used links may also boost attention to your application, Wert says. While opponents of including links in a resume point to software that often converts resumes to all-text files or resume-scanning bots that wouldn’t notice a hyperlink as anything but text, the worst-case scenario is simply that your additional content may go unnoticed. Including links poses little risk, but offers the potential to engage recruiters, expand your professional brand and bolster your resume.
Not to mention using a few well-placed links is convenient for recruiters, can help keep your overall resume clean and can showcase your technology proficiency in a stronger way than a bullet point that promises you are “computer savvy.”
For many fields, including editorial, production, public relations (PR), engineering, design or public speaking, demonstrating your experience and skillset with pertinent and quality past projects can boost your value in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers, and may keep them engaged with your application longer. Enrich your resume with these best practices for including links:
- Be mindful of medium. Linked content isn’t valuable to anyone looking at a hard (printed) copy of your resume – the idea is that a recruiter or hiring manager can easily move from a bullet point on your resume to the supporting example included in your link. While most job applications are online, it’s still possible hiring managers will print out paper copies of your resume. You can ensure interviewers still see your portfolio by updating your LinkedIn profile with links to your portfolio or creating a print version of your resume that includes the full URL – just be sure the address is easy for a human to type and the website is clearly reputable.
- Include helpful content. Generally, you should include links for your e-mail address, your LinkedIn profile, an online portfolio, or a site featuring your published work. If your Twitter feed isn’t strictly professional, exclude it from your resume. The same applies to Facebook and Instagram, which are generally personal use sites, unless those sites would be beneficial for the specific role or industry you’re applying to.
- Stay short and sweet. As with every element of your resume, ensuring your resume looks polished is critical to catching the recruiter’s eye, and keeping her engaged. Embed a hyperlink to the content instead of listing the full URL to avoid detracting from your bullet points. This also applies to any social media profiles you list on your resume. Customize your LinkedIn URL by editing your profile. Instead of leaving the default numeric ad-ons (like JohnDoe12346) social sites often default to, include your middle name, title, or industry to create a more personally branded URL. And, ensure consistency across your professional sites.
- Location, location, location. Bogging down your resume with a smattering of links isn’t likely to keep a recruiter engaged and may make your resume look sloppy. Instead, include your links in a consolidated location, such as in the header sections or in a side bar, or include them in chronological order with the previous job information you’re linking to.
- Choose your best work. Link to examples of only your best, and most relevant work. You should include projects, designs, or articles you’re truly proud of that represent you well – not every piece of work you’ve ever created.
- Don’t use links to replace strong descriptions. The links you include should support the strong statements you’re including in your resume – not replace them or contain necessary information that can’t be found on your resume. Your resume should stand alone as a text-only document as well, even when you include links.
- Take a test run. Before you distribute your resume, ask a friend or colleague to download your resume and click each link. You’ll want to ensure the links you’re including will work for recruiters and hiring managers. Take this same test run if you’re reviving a job search after a few months – you’ll want to ensure your links haven’t expired or changed.
Including thoughtfully placed links can enrich your resume and boost your image as a skilled professional when you carefully select specialized, relevant, and quality examples and present them in a polished way.