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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How to Job Search Like a Presidential Candidate

jobsearch2016Election season is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Whether you loved or loathed the presidential candidates it’s fair to say they both gave their best efforts over the last 20 months. And while just one candidate gets to walk away victorious, a lot can be learned from the process.

Let’s take the candidates’ campaigns, for example. Both fought long and hard for what they believed in, never losing faith along the way. This is the kind of mindset needed for a successful job search as well.

Winning over America’s vote may be slightly more challenging than say, winning over a hiring manager but many of the same principles apply. Let’s review them shall we?

Do Your Homework

Whether you’re thinking about applying for a job or you’re about to enter the interview chair, you have to be “in the know.” No one wants to elect an uniformed president just as no one wants to hire a clueless job candidate. It’s important that you’re familiar with the company and up to speed on the trends and best practices that will help you succeed in the job.

Be Prepared…But Not Scripted

This is especially important during the interview. It’s never a good idea to shoot off the cuff without fully knowing the point you’re trying to make. As Donald Trump learned during the debates, you’re likely to get a better response if you have a well-thought-out plan. But, it’s also smart not to sound scripted. Hillary Clinton was heavily criticized on her robotic stature throughout the debates which kept her from connecting with her audience. While practicing your interview points will help calm your nerves, never sound canned.

Highlight Your Strengths

When campaigning for presidency, candidates must always explain why they’re the best person for the job. The same goes for you. Whether it’s on your resume or during an interview, you should always lead with your strengths. But pointing out your skills and accomplishments isn’t enough. You’re competing for a job after all. If you can find an angle that highlights how your uniqueness makes you the best candidate for the role, you’re likely to win the job.

Use the Law of Large Numbers

It’s common knowledge that candidates hot on the campaign trail have to make as much contact with voters as humanly possible. The more hands they shake, the better their chances are at winning. Use the law of large numbers when applying to jobs. Yes it’s redundant. Yes it’s exhausting. And yes, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Be Resilient

If either one of the candidates gave up whenever they hit a bump in the road the election would have been forfeited a long time ago. Any good job worth having is worth working for. Realize that you may put a ton of time and effort in to applying for a job only to never hear a peep. You may also get as far as the fourth and final interview and then lose the job to someone else. If you begin your job search knowing there will be some rejection you can prepare yourself for the long and arduous road. By staying steadfast and positive , you will catch your break. It just takes time.

Be Social

Social Media has never been as prominent in a presidential race as it was this year. Trump was a clear winner when it came to having a social media presence but Clinton wasn’t too far behind. There are many advantages to using social media in your job search.

For example, TechCrunch recently reported that employers will soon begin promoting their jobs on Facebook. You can easily market yourself as employable by updating your profile with your past and present work experience. Just be aware of the shortfalls of the platforms and keep your posts clean.

Be Relevant

Living in the New Media age allows for us to receive and release information in real time. Just as social media has become an integral part of a presidential campaign, you should adopt all modern forms of the job search. While it’s likely you’re already using your phone to look for jobs, take it up a few notches.

There are plenty of mobile job search apps that let you apply to jobs directly from your phone. Increase your chances of standing out and speed up the application process by having a mobile optimized resume. Also take the time to set up a professional profile on LinkedIn. Many employers are now requesting this in the application process.

Build a Strong Network

Networking is one of the most discussed topics when it comes to finding a new job and for good reason. A strong network or support group can open the door for new opportunities, provide references and give guidance and advice. In Trump’s acceptance speech he humbly gave credit to his family and GOP allies that helped him get the win. By nurturing your network, you will find yourself with a group of individuals who help you succeed.

Be Honest

There’s no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness was an issue for her while campaigning. Trump too had his fair share of falsehoods. If you’re even considering lying on your resume to get a job just don’t do it. The stakes are high enough when you’re vying for a new position. Don’t risk burning bridges by forging your qualifications.

Be Yourself

If there’s anything to take away from this election process and the new President-Elect it’s that you don’t have to have the most experience. You don’t have to be the most articulate. But if you put in the work, surround yourself with smart and supportive people and above all, be uniquely you, you can accomplish anything.