Top Resume Tips for 2017

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:

skills-on-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.

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The Art of the Job Search – Letters of Recommendation and References

ImageYour main marketing pieces during your job search, including your resume, cover letter and maybe even a portfolio or website, are pieces you produce. You have control over the information presented. So what do you do when an employer asks for letters of recommendation or a reference list to contact? How do you manage your LinkedIn Recommendations to reflect what you want potential employers to see? You may not write the recommendations, but you do have a level of control of the information presented, based on who you ask for a recommendation and how you ask.

Who You Ask

Check over your list of professional contacts and determine which would present the most relevant and influential information in their letter, based on the position to which you are applying. If you have a former colleague or manager who can vouch for your knowledge in a particular industry or type of job, be sure to ask if they would be willing to provide a reference.

How You Ask

Through your research as a job seeker interested in a particular job or company, you are the expert in what the potential employer is looking for in their candidates. When approaching your contacts about writing a letter of recommendation or acting as a reference, you can provide them with some coaching through that knowledge. This will make each reference call or letter more relevant and impressive to your potential employer.

If the potential employer wants letters of recommendation, you can ask each contact to base their letters on one of your core strengths. For instance, one letter could focus on your ability to multitask, one on your ability to manage deadlines, and one on your leadership abilities. Have each letter demonstrate how your skills would be a benefit to the potential employer. 

Your Social Media Recommendations

Social media is now a huge factor in most recruiting processes. Through social media sites such as LinkedIn, potential employers can see a limitless number of recommendations from colleagues, clients, and others who appreciate the work you’ve done in past positions. You can manage who posts a recommendation for you by asking them directly. LinkedIn also requires that you approve any recommendations before they display on your page, providing further control of your digital image.

Photo credit: degreesoftransition.com

The Art of the Resume – How to Promote Your Resume

ImageAs a job seeker in today’s highly competitive market, any resource that allows you to broadcast your brand and your marketing pieces, such as your resume, can give you the edge. Posting your resume on job boards such as Job.com is an excellent first step in making your resume available to employers and recruiters in the “hidden job market” – those not currently advertising their open positions.

Another great step if you are serious about finding a position is using a resume distribution service. These services send your resume directly to their lists of employers in your industry or geographic location. All you need to do is provide a resume and the optional cover letter that serve as your introduction to employers. Your resume can be seen by employers who may be hiring now, or in the near future, with little or no research required from you.

Job.com’s Resume Distribution service is one of many tools available to any registered job seeker who has posted a resume. For a small fee, your resume can be sent to a segment of our extensive list of recruiters, depending on your location and desired industry. You will immediately be provided the number of recruiters who will receive your emails in the very first step. There are also a number of additional options in the check out process, including ordering a firm list to see exactly who will receive your resume.

If you are ready to broadcast your resume to the recruiters in your field, check out the Resume Distribution Service today!

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

300x250_NewYear_2012_SunriseIf you’re like many job seekers across the country, your #1 New Year’s resolution isn’t to lose weight, quit smoking, or get more organized.  It’s to find a new job.  Lucky for you, the start of the new year means the beginning of hiring season for companies across the country.

To increase your chances of landing a great job fast, we’ve compiled this quick checklist to help kick start your new year’s job search:

  • Update and post your resume  – If you want to increase your chances of landing a great job, a well-written resume is a must.
  • Customize your cover letters – Many companies require a cover letter along with an application, so make sure each cover letter you submit speaks directly to the job you’re applying for.
  • Network – In addition to applying to jobs online, be sure to also reach out to all your connections on and offline to learn of potential job opportunities.
  • Follow-Up – Some companies list their HR Department’s contact information on their website. If you’d like to express further interest in a job you’ve applied to, you can humbly inquire over the phone.

In addition to having a professional resume and cover letter, you can also speed up your job search by applying to jobs in industries that are showing the most growth.  Check out our listings in these top industries that are hiring in 2014 today!

Have You Updated Your Resume Lately?

Want a stress free resume?  Read on to learn more.

Want a stress free resume? Read on to learn more.

So you’re in the market for a new job.  You log in to the ol’ Job.com account, run a few job searches, see a few jobs you like, and then you apply to them.  But what is actually involved in your application process?  Did you happen to review the resume you’re sending along to make sure that it’s relevant to the job you’re applying to?  Did your application contain a list of recent job duties and functions that align with specific criteria provided in the job ad?  If you didn’t, there’s a good chance that your resume and application will be screened out by a computer before a hiring manager even gets a chance to review it.

These days, most companies are using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan a candidate’s resume and application to ensure that they have the skills and qualifications required to do the job.  The old, one-size fits all resume of your past will no longer be effective when trying to land a new job.  This means that every application and resume you submit for a job should be custom tailored to point out your skills and experience that qualify you for the position at hand.

It’s absolutely o.k. to work off of one resume template, but to improve your chances of making it past an ATS’s screening filters, each resume and application should be tweaked to contain keywords that identify you as a strong candidate for the role.  A good way to craft a resume that passes the applicant screening test is to take specific phrases from the actual job description and weave them in to your application and/or resume.  For example, if a job ad lists that a candidate must have strong knowledge of MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and you have those skills, be sure to include this in the Skills/Qualifications section of your resume.

It may seem daunting at first, but after applying to several jobs in related fields, you may find that you’re repeatedly using just a few, refined resumes throughout your job search process.  You can also speed up your application process by saving those that get pushed out to employers so you can simply work off of previous applications as you create new ones.

In addition to a keyword rich resume and application, providing a well-written cover letter can also increase your chances of being noticed by employers.  The cover letter is your opportunity to explain why you’re a great fit for the job.  It should clearly and consicesly provide examples of some work related achievements that have prepared you for this new role.

So what do you do after you’ve applied to a job with your fine tuned cover letter, resume, and application?  Follow up, of course. Once you’ve located the company’s contact information online, give them a call and asked to be connected to the HR department so you can follow up on your application.  This way, the employer will know you’re serious about the position, and in many cases, will provide you with an update on where they stand in the hiring process.

Remember that searching for a job is a full time job.  Continue working to improve your resume and remain positive at all times.  By staying proactive in your search, you’ll be sure to find a job you’ll love.

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