*** UPDATED: Check out our 17 Resume Tips That Will Attract Employers in 2017: Infographic. ***
The year is coming to a close, and with the New Year comes new beginnings. This is the perfect time to update and perfect your career development materials. When it comes to resume writing, there are some industry-standard guidelines you should follow to ensure that your resume gets past Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and into the hands of decision-makers. The following trends have made great strides in 2014 and will continue into 2015 as attention-catchers.
1. Career Summary To Replace Objectives
Objectives, typically beginning with “Seeking a position…” is self-serving and often a turn-off for employers. Candidates replacing this with a Career Summary highlighting their most valuable skills and experience are having better luck securing interviews.
2. Bullet Lists To Replace Blocks of Text
With hiring managers taking an average of seven seconds to review resumes, candidates who list information in bullet lists have a better chance of being chosen for an interview than candidates who list blocks of text. It’s easier to pull vital information from these lists than from paragraphs.
3. Appropriate Use of Keywords
Candidates must be careful when writing resume content. ATS’ look for specific keywords and often candidates SPAM their resumes with keywords. Content is king, and ATS’ are programmed to know this. Only use keywords where appropriate, such as a list of key skills or core competencies or when describing job descriptions.
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4. Computer Skills and Technical Proficiency
This information has often been recommended for certain job positions but is now required for most industries. Having experience or a working knowledge of various operating systems, Microsoft Office, internet applications, and popular software is an essential piece to your resume moving forward.
5. Including A Cover Letter
Going the extra mile with a cover letter shows employers that you are serious about the position you are applying for. A personalized cover letter introducing yourself, highlighting points on your resume, and expressing an interest in the company continues to make a huge contribution to the success of job-seekers.
6. Quality Over Quantity
There are so many reasons why resumes over two pages are thrown out. Hiring managers don’t have the time to read every word you write and need to find valuable information quickly. Focusing on your value proposition, or what you will contribute to the company, will win over the amount of responsibilities you have had over the years.
7. Keeping It Short and Sweet
Similar to the previous trend, summarizing your experience into key points that identify the value of your skills will continue to be most successful into the New Year. Even if you have over 10 years of experience, condensing this information into a polished, 1-page resume will be more effective in securing interviews than listing every job position you've ever held.
8. Listing Achievements Rather Than Duties
Although duties and responsibilities list what you’re capable of doing, using action words and accomplishments to share how your contributions benefited the company will bring more positive results. Achievements can include statistics from performance reports or awards presented for excellence or leadership.
Take the previous trend a bit further and implement storytelling into your experiences and achievements. Instead of stating that you reached your monthly sales consistency for the last few months, tell a story with “Closed sales weekly which maximized quarterly profits by 75%.”
10. Adding Light Visual Elements
ATS’ can break down some formatting options utilized to make resumes more visibly appealing. That way you can have one resume format that you can use for online job postings and present in print. Use break-away text, lines to separate sections, colorful headings, larger font for your name and headings, and other pops of color.
11. Add Social Profiles
Having a LinkedIn profile, or an online resume, is becoming more and more popular. Take it a step further in 2015 by optimizing your social profiles as personal marketing tools. Go through your profiles and clear out the inappropriate, change your security setting so you and post publicly, start posting industry related news and updates, and utilize paid advertisements to make your skills visible to potential employers.
12. Personal Website
In addition to using social profiles as a marketing tools, purchase a domain name for an inexpensive monthly rate and setup a self-hosted WordPress site to use as an online business card. Include a contact form to make it easy for potential employers to reach you if you don’t want your phone number to be public.
13. Infographics for Creative Industries
Alternative resume designs such as infographics are increasingly more popular for creative fields. An appropriate use for an infographic resume would be for a position in graphic design because it gives you an opportunity to showcase your skills and creativity. This will not be an effective resume format to upload to online job postings as ATS’ will remove them immediately for formatting overkill, but otherwise makes a visually captivating presentation.
14. Video Resume
If a picture speaks a thousand words, a video speaks millions. A video resume would be an excellent addition to that personal website you launch and a great link to add to online job postings. Take care to prepare and edit carefully so it doesn't look thrown together and unprofessional. Use a video to give employers a glimpse at your personality.
15. Customized Resume For Each Position or Industry
Away with the generic resume that you hand out to every potential employer. Customizing your resume’s career summary and key skills or core competencies for each position or industry you are applying shows that you are invested in your job-search. Hiring managers can tell the difference between a cookie-cutter resume and one that shows interest.