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 Resume – What Format to Use?

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As a part of our ongoing job seeker series “The Art of the Job Search,” we’ve created a series of tips regarding resume writing and promotion. The first installment in the resume series discusses the various formats you can use, depending on the type of position for which you are applying.

Being a job seeker can be a full time job. First, you research your target industries and find the companies you feel would be the best fit. You network with employees at those companies, attend job fairs, and search job boards to see what types of jobs are in demand. For all the work you do, is your resume helping or hurting you? Think of your cover letter and resume as your personal marketing pieces – what the employer will reference again and again when considering you for their company. Does your resume encompass all that you can offer? Does it stand out from the crowd?

The first thing to consider when creating or redoing your resume is the format. Different formats can be used to accomplish certain career goals. The traditional resume formats include chronological, functional, and a combination of both.

The chronological format lists your education and experience in order, most recent first. You can use this format when you want a position in your current industry, you have extensive experience, or you can demonstrate upward movement in your positions. These factors prove you are ready for the next step in your career.

The functional format revolves around accomplishments in your career. Use this format when you want to make a career change and feel your experience could be used in a new industry, if you have held many different jobs in a short period of time, or you are returning to work after long absence.

The combination format presents your relevant skills in chronological order. This format can be used whether you want to move to a new industry or remain in your current field. The combination format is also a good option when you have gaps in employment, want to express how your skills in other types of work, such as volunteering, can be transferred to the position, or when your past job titles do not encompass all of your responsibility in that position. 

Regardless of the format you select, it is most important to tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying. As you look over your experience, does it mirror the qualifications required in the posting?

Here are some general formatting tips to leave the employer ready to learn more after reading your resume.

  • Make sure your resume is easy to read with clearly defined sections (Education, Experience, etc.) and bullet point lists of responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Include proper spelling and grammar, double check that all text is in the same font, and that there are distinct heading and bullet point list sizes. Your name and contact information should be the largest font for quick recognition.
  • Demonstrate all relevant training in your Education section. Do you have a certification the employer would be interested in seeing?
  • Along with your responsibilities in each job you include, list accomplishments you feel could be applied to the position to which you are applying.
  • Have references ready upon request from the employer who can vouch for your experience and accomplishments.