As 2014 draws to a close, let’s take stock of the changing trends in resumes. Whether you’re actively looking for work or just thinking about making a change in 2015, these trends can help you stay relevant in a tough market.
Applicant tracking software is used by an increasing number of companies to pre-screen applicants, so understanding how to get past these digital gatekeepers is essential. According to the American Marketing Association, “Applicant tracking software (ATS) applications identify key information, including keywords within position titles, accomplishments, functions, and education.” The AMA advises job seekers to avoid using graphics on resumes, as those may get tossed out by screening software, and to put contact information in the body of the document instead of a header or footer.
Error Free (Is the Way to Be)
Now more than ever, it is vital to have an error-free resume. Although the job market is getting better, competition is still fierce. Hiring managers are overwhelmed by qualified applicants, so don’t give them a reason to put your resume in the round file. Proofread the whole document every time you make even a small change.
Job seekers — especially those in creative fields like marketing — should try creating different types of resumes to take advantage of online platforms and digital technology. Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast, recommends translating your standard paper resume into new formats like video, infographics, or even social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. “[I]nstead of passively sitting back and going with the flow, why not take some time to direct where your job search is going by utilizing the medium that employers are using right now to find new employees?” says Hernandez.
Embrace the Summary
In years past, the objective — a statement of two or three sentences about what kind of job you were looking for — was considered a must-have. However, that was in a much hotter market that favored job seekers over employers. According to staffing firm Robert Half, “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.”
Tell Your Story
Executive job search coach Laura Smith-Proulx warns job seekers to leave the lists of bullet points behind. “Your leadership resume must tell your story in context, with specifics on the obstacles you’ve overcome and the results you’ve orchestrated,” says Smith-Proulx. “Listing metrics without the salient details will no longer make you a contender.” Start thinking of your employment history, education, and workplace achievements as a story — with you as the hero!
Break the One-Page Rule
You’ve probably heard that resumes should be a single page. The logic is that because hiring managers have a limited amount of time, putting everything on a single page makes it easier for them to scan for relevant details. Nowadays, software does the screening, and longer resumes can show more of your work story (and include extra keywords). Peter Harris of Workopolis thinks job seekers shouldn’t limit themselves to single-page reumes: “The first page has to be good and relevant to the employer or else you’ll get tossed. But if they like what they see on page one, they’ll keep reading to find out more.”
Remember that trends come and go, and what’s considered cutting-edge today could be passé in a year or two. Your resume is a living document that should evolve alongside your career, so try to update it twice a year, even if you aren’t actively looking for a new job.
All of us here at Grammarly wish you a happy New Year and the best of luck in your job search!