Hiring managers look for resumes that are straightforward and easy to read. So don’t use resume formats that are heavy on formatting, fancy fonts and graphics. In fact, such flourishes may work against you by distracting from your skills and experience. Here are some resume tips that give insight into what you should focus on and what things – such as resume keywords – you should include:
Job seekers typically use reverse chronological resumes, which list the most recent jobs first, followed by previous positions. However, if you are a recent graduate or lack extensive work experience, you may want to explore other resume formats. One of the most common is the functional resume. With this format, you begin your resume with a summary of your skills and education and then list your work history.
Some applicants use a combination of the two resume formats, presenting an overview of their most important qualifications and accomplishments along with a shortened work history.
Many employers use resume-filtering software that scans for resume keywords and evaluates how closely resumes match the preferred skills and experience. To minimize the chances of your resume getting filtered out, incorporate terminology and resume keywords from the job posting – if, of course, the terms honestly describe your abilities.
Other Resume Tips
One of our most important resume tips is this: Give hiring managers a sense of why you would be a stellar employee by highlighting specific examples of past successes. Don’t undervalue achievements outside of your main career path. For instance, the fact that you improved a procedure while volunteering as a treasurer for a local community organization shows initiative and creativity, which are valued qualities in any job candidate.
Current Resume Trends
If you’re starting a job search, familiarize yourself with current resume trends and resume styles. The main principles remain the same: Be honest, succinct and avoid errors. But the following current resume trends and newer developments may be worthy of your consideration:
More job seekers are replacing the objective statement with a summary. A well-crafted overview of your most impressive qualifications at the top of the page can better convey why you’re an attractive candidate.
Different delivery formats.
HTML or Internet-friendly resumes have been used for a number of years and usually include links to work samples or more detailed information about a candidate’s experience. Another format to consider is the video resume, although some companies are reluctant to accept them because of concerns about potential discrimination claims. In general, it’s wise to check with an employer before submitting a video resume. In addition to e-formats you may want to consider also mailing a hard copy to hiring managers to further distinguish yourself.
Avoid potential for overexposure.
While technology enables a far wider distribution of your resume than was possible before, you don’t want to invite excessive spam or other unwanted email by posting your resume too freely. Instead focus on making sure your materials are posted where your target audience is most likely to see them. A too-wide distribution also makes it more likely your employer will learn of your search for a new position.
How long should your resume be? Senior executives interviewed for a survey commissioned by our company expressed a greater receptiveness to two–page resumes for staff positions. While most (52 percent) still preferred a one–page resume, a full 44 percent gave the nod to two-page documents.
This is a substantial change from the same poll conducted a decade ago. At that time, 73 percent of employers favored a single page. Executives’ growing acceptance of longer resumes suggests that, although conciseness remains paramount, hiring managers also want to receive enough information to make good assessments of candidates’ qualifications.
The best rule of thumb is to allow the breadth and depth of your experience to dictate resume length. On the other hand, don’t make your resume longer than necessary simply to appear more experienced. Hiring managers can easily spot filler.
Before putting anything on your resume, ask, “Does this add value to my candidacy?” If it doesn’t, eliminate the information or recast it in more meaningful terms.