If you have never needed a résumé before, or it’s been many years since you’ve had one, you may be in the dark about the latest résumé trends and what most hiring managers look for. Below are a few basic tips. Some are a given, others are recent changes. Trust us we have seen some very common mistakes when it comes to résumê writing.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date! Just a couple of weeks ago we were reviewing résumés for an open position in our company, and one candidate almost missed out on an interview because he had an old, non-working telephone listed on his résumé.
- Use an updated email address. This means no Hotmail, AOL, or any of the dinosaur email addresses that can date you. A Gmail, Ymail or any home account (like your ISP) will work best.
- Use a separate email account on your résumé for job search purposes. Unless you want a ton of job postings, both relevant and non-relevant flooding your In-box along with your regular personal emails, keep the job search info. separate. Much easier to control your search. This is assuming you will be posting your résumé to job search engines and company job boards
- Don’t date your résumé too far back. You really only need to go back 10 and no more than 15 years. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to go beyond this, such as a transitional résumé, then try to stay within this decade.
- Make sure you add keywords! This is a big one. Remember, your résume goes into an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). In order for it to find your résumé, you will need relevant keywords to the positions you’re seeking.
- Leave personal and political info. off the résumé. Gone are the days of adding your marital status, number of kids, etc… and by all means the only time anything political should be on there is if politics is your industry, or you’re trying to launch a career in politics.
- Do not use an OBJECTIVE! Unless you’re applying for a federal government job. Since you have to list the job announcement number this would be an objective. Other rare circumstances could occur. What we mean is the old objective where you state what it is YOU want. This is no longer very effective. You want to use a strong summary instead that tells how you’re a value to any organization.
- Be ready to backup EVERYTHING you say! If you have any certifications, licenses, produced millions of dollars in revenue for a company, etc… you will need to add dates and you better be ready during the interview.
- Don’t be too close to your résumé. In otherwords, some things just aren’t necessary to add. Such as non-relevant volunteer work, the fact that you were roommates with a famous NFL player, a high GPA from 20 years ago and so on.
- Always! Always! Have a COVER LETTER. You never know when you’ll need one. It’s best to just have a general industry one that you can tweak as you need to. The last thing you want to do is see a job posting that says: Must submit a résumé and cover letter and you’re scrambling around trying to write the perfect one. Even if it’s not requested, it puts you in a more favorable light since a cover letter is a nice introduction. You can also say things in the letter that you wouldn’t want to put on the résumé, such as a recent layoff or sabbatical.
- ATS Friendly – The ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is what employers use to track applications and résumés. In order to get your résumé picked up it needs to be readable by an ATS. This is where E-Rêsumés come in handy so keep two versions of your résumé. The nicely formatted one with bullet points, graphics, or whatever makes your experience stand out, and an E (Electronic) Résumé that’s more of a plain text format for uploading or copying and pasting into résumé boards or job search engine fields.
Please note: Some hiring managers have different preferences and are behind with the times themselves, so nothing is set in stone. There are also employers who are just trying to fill a spot, and may take a dire résumé for a low paying position. The above advice is what we as professionals have found to be true for many years for decent paying positions and reputable companies. We work with recruiters (both corporate and executive, third-party) everyday.
Stay tuned for our new blog. In the meantime you can read some articles from our old blog here: BluePrint Blog