Whether you have a resume from years ago or you have not yet made one for your first job, tweaking it to reflect your job experience and skills can be hard work. Resumes are often one to three page documents that display your credentials and show potential employers that you deserve the job.
However, simply making a resume and forgetting about it is generally a bad idea, as resumes are meant to be documents that change and evolve alongside you. Even if you have a job now, that does not always guarantee that you will later. Therefore, having an updated resume at all times will save you a lot of time and headaches when you need to look for a new job. By learning what employers tend to look for in a resume, you can make the necessary changes to yours that will make you stand out amongst all other applicants.
How and why do resume trends change over time?
It makes sense that as time goes on, employers tend to look for different criteria in prospective employees. After all, today’s recruiters are mostly finding candidates entirely online, whereas the internet didn’t commercially exist just a few decades ago. So, to match the rise of technology in the business world, employees have become more reliant on submitting online resumes. This can have many benefits for job seekers, as they often do not need to leave their house in order to land an interview at a company. However, it can also come with the complication of dozens (if not hundreds) of additional applicants to any given job.
Therefore, while significant changes to resume trends do not normally occur year by year, technology does play a large role in the overall manner and even style of resume creation and submission. Additionally, resume trends can vary based on the economy and the job market. If there are more available jobs, there may be fewer resumes that are submitted each open position. And if there are fewer available jobs, resumes must also adapt to become more competitive, whether via keywords or another method. Finally, the style of resumes can vary depending on what kinds of jobs are available. During technological booms, such as the rise of the internet in recent history, more and more resumes needed to include qualifications with word processing software or even knowledge of coding languages. There were no professional web developers before computers, but when the new jobs for those skills were invented and started to gain in popularity, resumes needed to change to reflect that new field.
Among today’s resume styles, there is also quite a bit of variety depending on your industry, and how you would like your resume to come across. The format of your resume should usually reflect the type of field that you are trying to enter or continue working in. Graphic designers might want to focus more on the aesthetic aspects of their resume, while project managers will want to spend more time elaborating on their leadership and communication skills. However, it is important to consider that your resume may need to make it through a rigorous automated evaluation system, so you should try to make it as easy to read, straightforward and elegant as you can.
What are some recent resume tips than anyone can utilize?
Some resume tips are well-known, such as making sure that your spelling and formatting are correct, using keywords to make your qualifications stand out and bringing out the importance of your skills a bit more than your job experience. However, because resume trends change so regularly, it is important to keep up with what today’s hiring managers and recruiters are looking for. Some of the most relevant (and sometimes not very obvious) resume tips include:
- Holding some information back for later. One problem that many applicants face is including every accomplishment that they have made in their resume, and then not having much else to talk about in their cover letter and interview. By strategically sprinkling a few impressive skills or stories into your other interactions with an employer, they will likely find it impressive that you have so many other features that you decided to leave off your resume.
- Not feeling pressured to stick to one page if you have too much relevant experience. Having a simple, one-page resume has long been a preference for many, because of how easy it is for employers to read and review. But with the increased usage of applicant tracking systems (ATS) by hiring managers and recruiters, a much smaller number of resumes are making it to their desks than in the recent past, as many resumes are being filtered out by “resume bots” if they are not a good match. Assuming you make your resume with these bots in mind (that is, cleanly and with the right amount of keywords), it will not make a big difference to employers if your resume is a little bit longer, as long as all of the experiences and skills on it are relevant and impressive.
- Use boldface and italics, but do so tastefully and sparingly. It is always important to keep in mind that the average resume is skimmed by an employer for about 6 seconds, so it can be helpful to direct their eyes to the particularly important or impressive sections by altering the appearance of your text. However, this can be easily overused to where it looks unprofessional, and the hiring manager will not want to switch constantly between reading different typefaces.
- Focus on tangible numbers and facts, rather than subjective opinions of yourself. When you are describing your past job experiences, it is likely that a hiring manager will get bored without tangible figures that demonstrate exactly how effective you were in the past. Say how much money you helped the company generate, or how many people you managed, instead of generic phrases that could apply to almost anyone.
How to Go About Adjusting a Resume
When it comes down to actually implementing these changes into your resume, there are a few different ways that you can go about doing so. Mainly, you can choose to use your best judgment on how to put everything together (preferred for design-conscious fields, or those who want to stretch the norm), you can use a template online and plug each part in individually, or you can utilize a resume professional’s assistance. The biggest factor that will likely go into this decision is how much time and effort you are willing to put in. Building your own resume from the ground up can be satisfying, but it can also take time, whereas using a resume service will save you plenty of time and typing, but it will generally cost some money. However, whichever method you choose, it is important to know about the different parts of your resume that should stand out, so that you can talk about it with a hiring manager during your next interview!