It’s never been easy to craft a compelling resume. But it’s more difficult in today’s online, mobile, and tech-driven job market. If you want to get employed in 2022, it’s vital to learn how to tailor your resume for electronic scanning systems and human readers.
Fortunately, I recently finished reading a great book called Modernize Your Resumé: Get Noticed…
Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark’s Get Hired take the mystery out of the resumé writing process. It offers more than 80 samples from some of the world’s top resumé writers, as well as ideas for updating the content, format, and style of your resume.
Here are eight pointers from the book to help you make your resumé stand out this year:
1. Address your letter to the future, not the past.
A resumé is a marketing tool, not a record of previous employment. Those elements of your tale to emphasize and which to minimize should always be determined by your current job ambitions.
The trick is to place more weight on qualifications, experiences, and accomplishments that are relevant to your goal and less on those that aren’t. Older job candidates can provide a brief summary of their early work experiences without including dates (if you choose this approach, omit your college graduation date). If you want to go back to a job you did years ago, highlight your earlier experience in a “Related Experience” area that comes before other Professional Experiences.
In the end, put the emphasis where it belongs.
2. Include important keywords.
Keywords are used by almost every firm and recruiter to find qualified applicants. Even if you’re the best candidate, if you don’t use the proper ones, your resumé will be disregarded by electronic applicant tracking systems.
Furthermore, employing the incorrect phrases can date you (for example, “personnel” is outdated; the correct phrase is “talent acquisition”). So ditch your old vocabulary in favor of your industry’s current lingo.
3. Show off your “wow” factor.
What are the most important details you want companies to know about you in order to demonstrate that you’re a strong candidate? This is what Enelow and Kursmark refer to as your “wow factor” — a brief burst of information that showcases your accomplishments and appears prominently throughout your resumé.
Position one “huge wow” at the top of the page, either above or below the title that plainly reveals who you are (“Award-Winning International Sales Manager” or “Trilingual Digital Marketing Executive,” according to the authors).
When detailing your previous jobs, start with a great “wow statement.” “Increased web traffic by 350 percent and doubled ad revenue over the previous year,” for example. After that, give a quick rundown of your other responsibilities.
You should also categorize “wow stuff” under a different heading, such as “Honors & Awards” or “Media Mentions.”
Ask yourself the following questions to help you concentrate on your “wow” factor, and make sure the answers show in your resumé:
When was the last time I was first or best?
What was the most important thing I accomplished in each position?
Which of my accomplishments has the most amazing statistics?
What have I received popular acclaim for?
4. Get rid of the goal (and replace it with a Summary).
When you add an Objective, you’re telling employers what you want from them,” Enelow and Kursmark write. That’s why, in most modern resumés, the Summary section — a brief professional description that highlights your years of expertise, job history, and notable accomplishments — has virtually replaced the Objective.
They claim they only time an Objective is still appropriate is if your objective is unclear based on your work experience. In that scenario, a simple and straightforward Objective will suffice to clarify everything (for example, Objective: Early Childhood Program Coordinator).
5. Use the phrase “lean and mean.
In today’s resume, every word must be counted. Here are a few tips to “leave the muscle, shed the fat,” as the authors put it:
Calculate your accomplishments. Because numbers are a measurable sign of your achievement, include figures, dollars, and percentages in your resumé wherever available. Just don’t go overboard: an engaging read requires a balance of numbers and narrative.
To assist employers in better comprehending the extent of your accomplishments, include context. Say “Increased revenue by 56 percent, treble the company average” instead of “Increased revenue by 56 percent.”
Every paragraph or bullet point should begin with a powerful action verb. Not sure which words have the most impact? There are 429 action verbs to pick from in this list.
Filler words and phrases should be avoided. Terms like “responsible for” and “duties include” don’t say anything and weaken your resumé’s impact. Others, such as “references upon request,” are self-evident. To make sentences tighter and shorter, avoid using small words like “a,” “an,” and “the.”
6. Make your contact information stand out so that busy recruiting managers may readily reach you.
Include real links to your email address, a professional blog, and/or social media sites that are relevant to you. Just one phone number (ideally a cell phone) and one email address are required. Remove your entire mailing address; only your city, state, and ZIP code are required.
7. Make your resumé more skimmable.
Because we all skim rather than read, here are several ways to reward that reading style: Write three or four-line paragraphs at the most. (If you have more to say, make a paragraph with bullets.) Also, utilize headers and subheads to split and introduce content, as well as white space between paragraphs to create “breathing room.”
8. Make the design more vibrant (cautiously).
Color, shading, boxes, charts, tables, photos, and icons are all useful elements to your resume that can help it stand out. Just make sure your design adheres to your field’s professional standards – a graphic designer, for example, can show off more originality than an accountant.