The past year (2020) has been a rollercoaster ride for everyone, especially working professionals. The pandemic has made many think differently about their current profession and look more into their future career goals. I have seen some very interesting trends while writing resumes over the past year.
At the end of 2020, I was bombarded with professionals who worked in the hospitality or retail industries. Many of them were from Florida or New York, understandably. They were scared. They were confused. Some of them didn’t know what they wanted to do moving forward, but most of them were certain they wanted to do anything other than what they’ve known all their career. They were afraid to return to the industry they knew so very well. They needed help taking their current resume and rewriting it to fit into another industry. They needed help bringing out their transferrable skills so they could basically apply to any decent job they could find.
In the beginning of 2021, I was contacted by those in mid-level management positions (project managers, engineers, brand managers, etc.). These were individuals who either knew their current position was getting eliminated, or their current workplace was closing/merging/moving. They wanted to be prepared and ready to move forward when necessary. Many of them were also looking to work remotely, again, for obvious reasons.
Now (May 2021), I’m getting contacted by professionals who don’t see a problem with their current job at the moment, but want to be prepared if, and when, they need to look for something else. I’m also working with individuals who are ready to take their career to the next level and apply to jobs just above their current title. They are ready to make a move. Maybe it’s because there’s a trend going on right now where people just don’t want to return to work, which means there are many more open positions than ever before, even for higher-level professionals. Businesses need really great workers. They are ready and willing to hire. So why not make yourself look desirable? Why not position yourself to be the best of the best? That is what some of my clients are doing. They are taking their career history and showing employers that they are well-suited for the job. Smart idea.
So, what DO you do with your resume when you’re ready to apply to jobs? What DO you include? What do you NOT include? Well, here is a little guide to help you through.
DO include a strong summary statement telling companies what you can do for them. Share with them what they want to hear. Look over their job description and answer the questions they’re asking. What do they need help with? Why are they looking for someone like you?
DO include your strongest skills. Add your soft (anything innate) and hard (anything learned) skills that are relevant to the positions you’re trying to obtain. This is a great place to include computer programs you use, or have knowledge of.
DO NOT list every single soft skill you have. Again, look through the job description and see what skills they are looking for. If you have them, include them in your resume. Do this for EVERY job you apply to.
DO NOT share your life story. Don’t share personal information. Your resume is a marketing document that should explain your professionalism, but don’t go into too much detail because you want to give them a reason to meet with you. You want to save certain things for the interview.
Recruiters will only look at your resume for a few seconds. If they think you are fit for the job, they will pass your resume along to the employer/hiring manager. Hopefully they will look through your resume (line by line) and want to know more about you. You want them to call you to schedule that interview.
Always remember when writing a resume, you want to share a snapshot of your career. You want to show your strengths/skills, the progression in your career, and your measurable achievements. You do not want to include your career in it’s entirety. Only you can sell you. Some information does not belong on paper. Leave the amazingly detailed information for the interview. Tailor your resume to one, maybe two points (your most valuable skills and your industry experience).
Do you want to write your resume to get past ATS (applicant tracking systems)? Yes. But there is no guarantee you can do that. There is no way to know exactly what companies use what ATS. You will never know what each company is exactly looking for. But, you can do your best to get through the system. Here are some examples of what you can do to give yourself a fighting chance:
- Do include keywords and skills written in the job description.
- Do not use text boxes, images, columns, or graphs on your resume.
- Do make your resume easy to read with even white space and clear sections.
- Do not use multiple colors, strange font types, or font smaller than 10.5 pt.
- Do use actions verbs to describe your work experience.
- Do not overuse buzz words; recruiters can see right through that.
- Do use C.A.R. statements to show measurable achievements (Google it to learn more).
Whatever you do, always be truthful. Don’t lie. Don’t give false information. Always look for the details in the job description. Give the employer exactly what they want. Customize your resume for every position you apply to. Sell yourself the best way you know how. Like I already said, only you can sell you.
Good luck. And if you’re in need of assistant, please don’t hesitate to contact me! I’m always here to help!