By Natalya Khaykis, ZipJob
The way resumes are written has changed over the decades. The once widely accepted objective statement is now discouraged by most hiring managers. Resumes also need to be written and formatted to pass the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) most employers use.
An ATS is a software that screens your resume before it’s ever seen by a human. It looks for keywords and other information that match what the employer is looking for. This has replaced the need of manually sorting through hundreds of resumes and has saved companies time and money.
The average corporate position in the United States receives an average of 250 resumes. We’ll show you the top 5 tips for your resume in 2017 which will help you kick-start your job search.
Top 5 Resume Tips for 2017
1. Accomplishments Over Duties – One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make when writing a resume is simply listing out their job duties. With all that competition, you need to show the employer specific achievements where you went above and beyond.
For example, instead of saying:
“Managed the sales team to ensure sales quotas were met”
Go for something that’s more achievement based:
“Managed a sales team of 8 and developed new marketing campaigns which saw a 34% increase in sales”.
Doesn’t that sound so much better?
One of the best ways to catch the employer’s attention is to use quantifiable achievements. Hiring managers love to see numbers on a resume. It catches their attention and makes your experience look more believable and tangible.
2. ATS Optimization – Most employers use an automated resume scanner called an Applicant Tracking System. These systems pull information from your resume and determine if you’re a good match for the position.
On average, 75% of resumes are weeded out and never seen by human eyes. The problem is that many candidates are qualified but their resume just isn’t optimized for the ATS.
So how do you optimize your resume?
The first thing you need to do is use a standard resume format. Avoid any fancy colors, graphs, tables, fonts and images which the ATS will have difficulty processing.
You also want to ensure you use the keywords the ATS is looking for. It looks for keywords that relate to the position or qualifications the position seeks. The best place to look for keywords is the job posting itself. Look at some relevant keywords from the job posting and incorporate them in your resume. You need to tell the ATS that you have the skills and qualifications needed for the job.
It’s also a good idea to have your resume reviewed to see how it does in an ATS.
3. Ditch the Objective – The resume objective was once widely accepted and appeared on almost every resume, not anymore. The objective basically says “Hi, here is what I want out of this job and my career”.
The hiring manager or employer isn’t looking for what you want, but what they need and how you benefit them.
This is best expressed with a resume summary. The resume summary should be a bit about your background, skills and why you’re a great candidate for the position. You can check out this guide for writing a good resume summary.
4. Skills – This is one of the most important sections job seekers leave off their resume. Your resume should have a “Skills” or “Qualifications” listed in short bullet points. This allows a hiring manager to quickly see relevant qualifications, and it’s also great for including relevant keywords for an ATS. You can easily tailor your resume for each position by swapping relevant keywords.
Here is an example of a skills section on a resume:
5. Include a Cover Letter – There has been much debate as to whether cover letters are effective, or even read anymore. The answer is that it depends on the hiring manager but many still do put a lot of emphasis on a cover letter. The cover letter allows you to speak in a more conversational tone and tell the employer your qualifications and why you’d make a good fit for the position.
A well written cover letter would never hurt your chances of landing an interview, and it actually may be the deciding factor.
The best practices for writing a resume are always evolving. We now need to write resumes for both humans and machines. Keep these tips in mind when writing your resume and good luck with your job search!
Ready to get a resume that’s guaranteed to get past the ATS and in to the hiring manager’s hands? Check out ZipJob! ZipJob uses professional writers and technology to ensure your resume gets noticed. Learn More.