It’s 2016 and the pace of change increases each year. Technology has transformed many industries – think Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and others. In this technological age, do I really still need a resume? As someone who works with employers on a daily basis, the answer is still yes. The resume is still the foundation of the current recruiting process. How do you ensure that your resume stands out? With online applications, employers can easily receive hundreds of applications for a single position. When they quickly scan your resume, you want to be sure to make a positive impression so you will advance in the process. Or, if the company relies on an applicant tracking system, the software is making decisions based on your resume before a human ever reviews it. Here are some key considerations:
Make it Easy for Employers to Contact You
Enhance your resume contact information with easy to use hyperlinks to your email and your LinkedIn profile. Before they even meet you, they are impressed that you made it so easy for them to get to the next step. Of course, it is critical that your LinkedIn profile is update to date and comprehensive.
Be Wary of Overly Creative Designs
If you are in a very creative industry, you will want a separate version of your resume that is more creative and visually appealing but even for creative jobs you need a basic resume that will make it through the scanner in the applicant tracking process. No one will ever tell you that your resume failed the screen you just never get a response even when the job seemed so perfect. Something as simple as lines across the page can cause a problem. Beware of any creative formatting since it will likely cause problems. Still to a very clean, professional resume format. Don’t go crazy with fonts either. Calibri or Cambia look more modern that Times Roman but don’t try something truly unusual or it could be rejected by the system.
Objectives are Dead
Do not start your resume with an objective. That is seriously out of date because to be frank, employers don’t really care what you want to do. They want qualified candidates who can do the work and add value for the company. Instead, focus on a strong summary of your critical transferable skills. Entice them enough with the summary to make them want to read more. If you are applying for a variety of jobs, have different versions of your resume so you can provide a summary focused on the most relevant skills for the position.
Accomplishments Not Responsibilities
Your resume should not be a list of all the responsibilities in your job description. It should instead focus on your accomplishments. What value did the company receive by having you in that role? Where possible, quantify the results. A few bullet points of clear accomplishments with measurable results is significantly more valuable than a laundry list of responsibilities.
Key Words Matter
With computers often doing the initial resume reviews, key words are more critical than ever. Review the job description and highlight the key words that are important to the company for this position. Ensure that the relevant key words appear in your resume and cover letter. If the job is truly worth applying for, it is worth the time to customize your resume and cover letter. Increase the chances of getting your resume into the hands of the hiring manager by passing the initial screen.
Leverage Your Real Estate
Your resume should never exceed two pages and should be limited to one page if you have seven years of experience or less. Maximize the value of your resume real estate by focusing more attention on recent and relevant experience. Older jobs can be a quick bullet point so you can focus on the most relevant experience for this opportunity. You are not writing a biography, it is a summary of your professional accomplishments. While the words don’t have to be exactly the same, the experience on your resume should match your experience in LinkedIn. Be sure to use bullet points that start with action verbs in the correct tense. Avoid the obvious such as “references available on request.”
Be sure your resume is up to date and has no spelling or grammatical errors to ensure that you have the opportunity for a hiring manager to review your resume and determine that they want to invite you for an interview.