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10 Resume Tips in Today's Job Market



Resume styles and formats continue to change in order to adapt to technology updates. Many individuals now have more than one version of the resume to appeal to different industries and/or occupations. It's still an employer's market, so employers are expecting your resume to be tailored to meet their specific job needs.


1. Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) / Advanced Keyword Searching

Organizations are leveraging technology to assist with sifting through resumes - moving some forward for recruiter review and others seem to go into a black hole and/or receive an immediate rejection. Having a generic "one size fits all" resume may prevent you from being selected for an interview because job/company pertinent keywords may be missing.


  • TIP: A job description will often tell you what is important - it's a company's wish list and usually written in order or importance (top to bottom). Use it as a guide!


2. Plain Document Formatting

Many online systems prefer Microsoft Word as the "document of choice" for applicant uploading. Start with a plain MS Word document, free of resume templates, tables, colors, page borders, serif fonts (ex. Times New Roman), underlining and italic font, and at least .5" margins**. Many of these special formatting features do not scan well when systems are scanning documents.


  • TIP: Use a print-like font (ex. Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, etc.) and black ink color. You can format by using the page justifications (left, center, right, and justified), bolding, using all capital letters (be aware: spell check may not pick up on spelling errors in all caps text), and columns (if you are tech-savvy).

  • TIP: PDF conversion may be best for emailing purposes to ensure content can not be adjusted.

  • TIP: Keep the resume to 2 pages in length - a reader has a short attention span and is typically focused on Page 1.


**NOTE: those in creative fields may use programs like Adobe InDesign or Photoshop as the resume could be a portfolio piece and/or extension of your brand.


3. Page Heading

Page 1 should lead with your name and contact information at the top, but not in the Page Header due to text not being able to be scanned in this particular area. Your full address is no longer required on the resume as your online application will capture this information. Here is a sample of what goes at the top:


First Name Last Name, (any credentials that are relevant)

Major City, ST | One Telephone Number | Professional Email Address | Customized LinkedIn URL


  • TIP: This page heading can also be copied and pasted on other application documents to showcase a style/stationary - cover letter, reference sheet, writing samples, etc.


4. Summary Section

After your main heading with contact information is a Summary section. This is your written, 30-second pitch for the job you are targeting. This space is ideal for HR recruiters to see how your background, knowledge, and skills are relevant to their specific requisition. Go ahead and brand your resume with the job title of the role you are targeting. Here is an example:


ACCOUNT MANAGER

Proactive and influential business partner with experience developing, implementing and evaluating strategic initiatives to drive revenue while delivering creative solutions to meet customer needs. Recognized for building and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders, senior leaders, and cross-functional teams to define requirements, design innovative solutions, and lead an implementation process. Core competencies include:


Business Development | Strategic Planning | Customer Relations | Territory Management |

Contract Negotiation | Sales and Marketing | Consultative Selling | Cross-Functional Team Leader


  • TIP: Refer to the job description requirements and/or preferred qualifications to answer the question, "Why am I the best fit?", written in the third person.


5. Professional Experience Section

The employment history section typically receives the most attention by hiring managers, according to eye scan studies on how readers review a resume. Readers prefer to see this section listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job and then go backward), including the past 10-15 years with dates. Keep the writing style in the third person.


Unless you recently completed an educational degree to transition your career path, your Experience is the next section after the Summary. Another option would be those returning to work after an extended break may use a functional style resume and highlight 3-4 core competencies with supporting bullet points underneath.


The average time spent reading a resume is 6-20 seconds, Page 1 is critical.


  • TIP: Use a job description as a checklist against your Experience content. As you review each sentence or bullet point under Job Responsibilities, ask yourself "Have I done this before? If so, where is it in my resume and how is it worded?

  • TIP: Organize bullet points in order of most important to be read first, so on so forth, with about 6-7 bullet points maximum per job title to keep a reader engaged.


EXPERIENCE

COMPANY NAME | City, ST (in which you worked) YEAR - YEAR

Job Title

In about 2-3 sentences describe your role, using a high-level approach. How you would describe your position in a networking event? Start there. Include management and financial responsibilities.


  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).


When you have more than one job at a company:

COMPANY NAME | City, ST (in which you worked) START YEAR - END YEAR

Job Title, YEAR - END YEAR

In about 2-3 sentences describe your role, using a high-level approach. How you would describe your position in a networking event? Start there. Include management and financial responsibilities.

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).


Job Title, START YEAR - YEAR

In about 2-3 sentences describe your role, using a high-level approach. How you would describe your position in a networking event? Start there. Include management and financial responsibilities.

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).

  • Action verb + job responsibility + positive outcome (use #'s, $ amounts, %'s).


6. Optional Additional Relevant Experience Section

To showcase additional roles and companies without "dating" yourself past the 15-year mark. Add this section underneath Experience and include the bare minimum.


ADDITIONAL RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

COMPANY NAME | City, ST (in which you worked)

Job Title


COMPANY NAME | City, ST (in which you worked)

Job Title


  • TIP: Choose 1-3 experiences to highlight, you can put them into whatever order you'd like since the dates are intentionally omitted.


7. Education

Education is usually at the bottom of Page 2. Completed degrees and coursework can be included while graduation or attendance dates will be omitted (those will be included in your application). List formal education here by most recent or highest earned backward, like Experience.


EDUCATION

Degree / Completed Coursework / or Diploma - School Name, City, ST

Degree / Completed Coursework / or Diploma - School Name, City, ST


8. Optional Certifications Section

Add your credentials to your resume! Certifications earned at work or through an organization are great to showcase your expertise and interest in a specific field.


CERTIFICATIONS

Certification Name - Governing Organization

Certification Name - Governing Organization


9. Optional Additional Information Section

A catch-all section for important information: technical skills, languages, awards, additional training, professional memberships, community engagement, etc.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • Technology Skills: Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

  • Award: Employee of the Year, 2019

  • Community Engagement: Local Foodbank Volunteer


  • TIP: For religious and political involvement, you may choose to say something vague like "Local Nonprofit Organization" to disguise the organization and focus your initiative/leadership role, unless the organization aligns with the affiliated group(s).


10. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

Errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation are still taboo when a reader is reviewing a resume. Take time to review your resume and/or ask a trusted source to review.


  • TIP: Don't get stuck in perfection - the resume's job is to open doors and get you an interview.


BONUS TIP

Have one document with everything: a "master copy" to include employment history, exact dates, addresses, telephone numbers for Human Resources, salary details, training, technology, awards, volunteering, etc. to copy and paste into an online application.


Updating your own resume alone can feel overwhelming, time-consuming, and daunting at times. Enlist the help of a career counselor, certified professional resume writer, or trusted source to help format the document(s), synthesize accomplishment stories, and/or proofread - saving you time, preserving your sanity, and improving your confidence in sharing your resume.

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© 2020 Center for Heart Intelligence LLC | an Ohio Telehealth Practice 
Meagan Prost, LPCC-S, BC-TMH
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