Most Effective Ways to Modernize Your Resume
If you are like many people, your resume hasn’t seen a significant amount of change in years. You may have diligently updated it with new accomplishments or positions, but the basic document is still the same as it was the day you first typed it up. As the economy changes, though, you’ll need to work on bringing your resume in line with modern standards. Times have changed, and so too much the way you present yourself on paper. Below are just a few of the changes you’ll need to make to be taken seriously by recruiters.
Think About Design (Within Reason)
It’s a good idea to make sure your resume stands out, especially if you are lucky enough to hand in a physical copy of the document. While there’s no need to go crazy, you should attempt to personalize your document as much as possible as is reasonable within your field. If you are a graphic designer, for example, you’ll probably want to highlight some of your composition skills on the page. If you’re in a more staid profession, your choices might be confined to a few interesting and eye-catching font choices.
Contact is King
Your resume may be one of thousands that a recruiter looks at over the course of filling a single position. As such, you should always go out of your way to make sure that your contact information pops off the page. While you should always make sure your resume conforms to the standards of your industry, there is nothing stopping you from making sure your contact information is easy to find. Make sure that your contact info is at the top of the page, that it has slightly larger font and that you include at least two methods of contact.
Look at (and Use) Keywords
You’re going to deal with more than just human recruiters, according to Time. Many large companies – and even some small companies – use search software to weed out resumes that will waste the time of the consumer. As such, your resume needs to note the keywords used in the job listing and make sure that they are incorporated into your own resume. This isn’t a difficult process, and really only requires a bit of touching up for most people with an active resume. Putting in the right keywords will, however, give you a better chance of making it through the automated first cut.
Use Your Social Media
Your resume is just one brief peek at who you are. If you want your potential employers to learn more about you, make sure to link to any relevant social media accounts. In most fields, this is going to mean that you link over to your LinkedIn profile. You may want to link to other profiles that are connected to your professional accomplishments as well. While this may not leave a company with anything they can use, it does show that you are still engaged enough to know the priority that a company puts on its employees’ social media usage.
Every resume you write should be customized for the business to which you apply. There is no longer any single standard resume you can use for a given industry. Instead, you’ll want to either customize all your resumes yourself or use a service to punch things up for you. Every business is looking for something different, so try to make yourself the candidate that can fill the specific needs of the business to which you are applying. While it’s not always possible to be everything to everyone, you can be exactly what your potential place of work needs on paper.
Reduce the Size
You’ll want to make sure that every word counts on your resume. This means not only eliminating anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be there, but it also means learning how to cut down on description bloat. Keep the information your potential boss needs to know and ditch everything else. The age of the florid description is past, so just give people what they need to learn about your skills. The quicker the read, the better. Most good resumes should be no more than a single page.
Remove the Useless
Finally, make sure that your resume is ready for the modern era by ditching the portions of the resume that simply don’t matter. Get rid of your objective statement and replace it with a summary of who you are and what you have done. Ditch the contacts list and instead be ready to provide them on demand when they’re asked for. Your document should be lean and mean and ready for use. If you can’t think of how a particular section of your resume would be useful to your employer, you should get rid of that section.
Getting your resume ready means looking at the document as more of a tool than a personal statement. The objective is to get hired and every change you make to your resume should be in the service of that goal. Whether you are choosing a better way to get your contact information seen or just making a few key changes to reduce word count, the choices you make will impact how recruiters see you. With a little effort, your resume can be used to better summarize the benefits you bring to a company.
About the Author:
Margaret Francis is a career counselor with a master’s degree, a Career Management Practitioner certified by the Institute for Career Certification International and has been recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors.