I’ve seen SO many different resumes during my career. It also feels like I’ve sent thousands (some weeks more like billions) for job postings, and I’ve made so many different mistakes that got me denied from jobs.
I remember getting a rejection letter in my very early career (high school) that simply stated “Your resume does not reflect the detail-oriented candidate we are searching for”. OUCH, talk about rubbing salt in the wound. But useful feedback nonetheless (#stopprofessionalghosting).
Many of us don’t realize how important the small details are in these documents.
Here are the top resume trends that are ever important for 2018!
1. Consistency: There’s a rule for resumes that formatting doesn’t matter until it isn’t 100% there. The design, layout, and placement of text doesn’t need to be complex. Focus on making sure everything from dates to titles are aligned on the page for each of your past experiences. Use lines to create the illusion of breaking up text and boxing sections together to make the reader able to skim quickly and efficiently. Recruiters can easily spot these errors when you don’t pay attention to them – even if your content is golden, they will have an excuse to put you at the bottom of the pile. If your resume has typos, this will almost certainly disqualify you from the pool. It sends a message that if you didn’t care about the position as a candidate, much less so as an employee.
Hot tip: Ask a few friends to review your resume for you before you send it out. Specifically, ask if they can spot errors by simply scanning through the document. Formatting updates may take you a short while to figure out but it nonetheless it’s important and worth going the extra mile.
2. Listing our previous experience as mere tasks. If your resume is a copy and paste of bullets using your former job description, think again. The employer isn’t looking for your duties, they’re looking for a reason to hire you. Related experience means you’re going to be cherry picking the projects and outcomes that relate most to that employer. It states to them, hey I can do this job and here’s the proof that you can trust me.
Hot tip: Reframe your previous experience answering these couple of questions- A. how the employer benefited from what you did, and what the quantified (numbers, percentages) results, impact or achievement of your efforts were. This is the end result of what your job description was. For instance, instead of “in charge of the marketing plan for the department” say “developed and implemented a marketing plan and strategy which created a streamlined process and increased sales by 25%.” Which one would you hire? Exactly.
3. Overused wording. Ctrl F your resume for common words like team-play and goal-oriented. Any words that are common nowadays you want to stay away from. They take away from the punch that you job achievements will speak to. If you’re unsure if your resume has any of these, take a quick minute to google overused phrases in your industry and see if you can spot any.
Hot tip: Replace these words with results, actions can and do speak louder than sentences saying that you can do something.
These common formatting and content errors can really hurt our chances of getting picked up by a recruiter, but there is also one other problem that can really hurt your chances of going for a stretch position (a position that’s going to be a challenge for you). That missing piece is creating a building story to your resume. Sure you may have varying experience, but there are commonalities that are easy to spot in hindsight.
Take a few moments and look at your resume from a glance. Ask yourself why you took each of those positions, what you really wanted to get from it, and if there are any underlying themes to each of the positions that link them together. These links could be industry, political cause, geographic location, types of demographics served or even policy type. If you can spot these themes in your story in your past, you’ll be much more likely to narrow in on telling a building story to explain to the hiring manager.
Ever built a professional resume story? It’s becoming more common now than ever to create a cohesive story that easily communicates your brand and interests without having to rely so heavily on your cover letter. If you want personalized 1-on-1 support with this, schedule a consultation with me and we can talk more about what your career goal is and what story you need to be telling on your resume.