If one of your new year’s resolutions is to search for a new job in 2015 you should be sure your resume is ready for the job search of 2015. Here are some key trends for your consideration:
Your Resume Content
- Summary – Your resume should always start with a strong summary. Employers expect this and often use the summary to determine if they will read further. This is not an objective. It is not about what you want. This is the sales pitch of you and how you will meet the needs of the prospective employer. Focus on your key transferrable skills.
- Core Competencies – Employers also expect to see a core competencies section where you highlight at least four and not more than eight critical core competencies. Ideally you will customize this to each position for which you are applying so you can focus on the key skills you offer to meet their specific needs. Core competencies will often increase your chances of being found in a key word search.
- Technology Skills – Listing Word, Excel and PowerPoint on your resume is no longer a differentiator. Those are the expected skills for most employers. They will likely ask specific questions in the interview to determine you proficiency level with these critical tools. If you list technology skills on your resume you should focus on unique skills you have acquired beyond the standard expectations.
- Higher Expectations — Employers have high expectations when it comes to resume. Typos, grammatical errors or gross exaggerations of your experience are likely a quick trip to the no pile. Don’t talk about attention to detail and then have errors in your resume. Five years on the job does not equal extensive experience. Sell yourself but do it honestly, professionally and with the highest attention to detail.
Beyond Your Resume
- Linked In – While employers still expect a traditional resume they also expect candidates to have a professional presence on Linked In. Increasingly companies are relying on Linked In to identify candidates. At a minimum they are looking at your profile and comparing it to your resume. Your full employment and educational history should be reflected accurately and consistently in both mediums. Be sure to have a strong summary on Linked In. Update your photo with a professional headshot. Save the informal photos for Facebook.
- Video Resumes – If you are in a more creative field, you may be asked for a video resume. These can be challenging to produce and throwing something together at the last minute will not make a positive impression. Find out through your networking if you are likely to be asked for a video interview so you can prepare in advance to put your best foot forward.
- Cover Letters – Just because a cover letter is not required in the online posting, don’t overlook this critical tool. This is your opportunity to connect the dots between your experience and the needs of the employer. Take the time to craft a customized cover letter addressing the specific requirements of the position. This can significantly increase the chances of someone reviewing your resume.
- The Ultimate Goal – Reviewed by a Human – Most online applications are reviewed by computer software as a first step with applicant screening applications. Special formatting such as lines, multiple fonts, centering etc . can result in resumes being rejected by the system. In most instances you are never notified of the rejection but your resume never advances in the process to the point that a human reviews your application. Eliminate risky formatting for your online applications. Additionally be sure that your resume contains critical key words from the posting to ensure that the system finds a match to advance you in the process. Of course, the most effective way to have your resume reviewed by a person is through networking. While you still have to apply online, having an internal connection who can pass your resume to the appropriate hiring manager makes a huge difference in your likelihood of success.