This year’s CareerPro Development Conference, hosted by Career Professionals of Canada, brought together career experts (Career Pros) from all across North America for an intensive week-long review of current industry trends and hot topics.
A popular area of discussion at the conference was resumes, more specifically the topics of: mitigating red flags in resumes….resumes from the HR perspective…the “next” resume….resume best practices….and creating resumes with impact.
Here is a breakdown of 6 resume trends that are important for a job search today, and that will continue to play a big role throughout 2016:
- Address the Needs of the Reader: Every, Single, Time.
No short-cuts here. The most important resume tip shared by CareerPros is that you absolutely must customize the content of your resume for each and every job application, to help increase its success. You can start with a base resume that covers off your value proposition, core competencies, and major achievements, but take the time to tailor the content for each application.
Tailoring content will ensure that relevant details, keywords, key phrases, and clear value-add are included to meet the needs of the reader.
Remember, your resume may be all about you, but it isn’t meant for you. Think about your audience when you write your resume and clearly articulate why you would be a good match for their unique requirements.
- Present Immediate Value.
In close relation to trend #1: ensure key content and value appears immediately in your resume, preferably within the top 1/3 of the document. Employers are busy people, so open your resume by addressing the employer’s needs right away – to help capture, and keep, their attention.
Burying important content further down in the document, or expecting the reader to guess at why you would be a good match for their requirements – won’t ever cut it.
Lotte Struwing, a career professional with a strong background in all aspects of HR provided the following tip: “Address the needs of the reader right away in your resume. In my experience, whether you are a recruiter that scans a resume in 10 seconds, a heartfelt HR professional that reads the entire resume, or a busy business owner that is looking for something unique to pop out of ATS, the common theme in all resumes is the top half of the first page…the most important ‘real estate’.”
- Consider an Infographic Resume.
Infographic resumes are more visual overviews of career history and these are best used by candidates to grab the attention of hiring authorities (literally) in a way that is different from the majority. These visual resumes are not recommended for every industry or professional, but they could be a great option for people working in more creative jobs including marketing, arts, or design.
Looking for samples of these unique resumes? Simply type “Infographic Resumes” into Google or Pinterest and you’ll receive a wide range of ideas and approaches.
Although infographic resumes are an excellent way to set you apart from competitors, these visual resumes are rarely ATS-friendly; so keep them exclusively for person-to-person networking or distribution. You will need a modified resume version or a separate format for online applications (learn more in trend #5).
- Marry Content and Design for Networking Resumes.
It is recommended you have both a ‘human-eye’ friendly resume and a computer-friendly resume in your job search toolbox…different formats for different situations. For networking purposes, a human-eye friendly resume or creative resume works best. People are visually stimulated and appreciate reviewing material that is engaging in both content and design.
Skye Berry-Burke, a Certified Resume Strategist, shared that: “Creative resumes are tasteful and targeted documents that have one goal – to gain [employer’s] interest … Sometimes all that is needed is a unique quote, presentation, or layout, and other times a more dramatic design is called for.”
Visually stimulated resumes might employ unique formats, layouts, color, charts, graphs, fonts, or graphics. The trick to a well-balanced visual resume is not to go overboard. You don’t want design to distract from compelling content; you want content and design to work hand-in-hand. Again, more creative resumes are meant for an actual person to read – they are not always compliant with ATS (see #5).
- Understand ATS.
Do you know what ATS stands for? Every modern job seeker must! Most major companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) as part of their recruitment strategy. If you apply for a job online there is a good chance your resume is going through an ATS and these systems can be finicky. If you don’t properly understand ATS and how it works, then you won’t be able to effectively navigate the system.
ATS software is designed to scan resumes in search for a match to job postings. If your resume is not ATS-compliant, chances are it will never be selected as a match, even if you are qualified for the role. Every ATS is unique, so understanding common ATS resume practices is critical to getting your resume through the system. See more tips on ATS here.
- Avoid Resume Rules; Use Best Practices Instead.
For most job seekers, writing a resume is a stressful task. Navigating the copious amounts of resume advice online doesn’t make the task any easier. What tips work best? Who do I trust?
It is commonly said that if you approach 10 people for resume advice, you are going to get 20 different opinions, so seek the support of qualified professionals and weigh out resume options carefully.
The very best resume advice is that there is no one-way to write a resume. Your resume must be unique to you, your career history, your value, and the needs of your targeted audience.
However, there are several best practices that can help guide you through an effective resume creation and ease the anxiety that comes with building a perfect resume. I recommend my own popular post: “Resume Best Practices” as a good place to start.
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