There’s often a lot going on at the end of the year – holiday parties, people trying to hit end of year targets and general chaos. It’s likely that your resume isn’t in the list of your top priority. But while you’re closing out your 2018 goals and preparing for a new start for 2019, it’s actually the ideal time to sit down and rev up your resume.
Below we’ve summarised some expert-approved resume tips to help you freshen up your resume so it’s ready to go when new job opportunities knock in 2019.
CREATE AN ATS-FRIENDLY RESUME
An Applicant Tracking System – or ATS, for short – is a type of software used by recruiters and employers to sort, scan and rank the job applications they receive for their open positions. The ATS scans a resume’s content for specific keywords to determine if their application should be passed along to the recruiter.
This means if a resume is not formatted with the ATS in mind, a qualified candidate can be easily passed over.
To create an ATS-friendly resume, start with a Microsoft Word document and organise your information in a one-column layout. Avoid placing your contact information in the header or footer of the document as ATS can’t read text placed in these sections.
Contrary to popular belief, PDF is not the most ATS-friendly file type. While PDF files are the best at preserving the layout and format of your resume, it’s not compatible with most ATS software. If a certain job advertisement doesn’t specify which file types are compatible, play it safe and stick to a Word document in .doc or .docx.
One of the best ways to guarantee your resume is compatible with ATS is to optimise it with keywords. If you’re unsure which keywords should be used on your resume, start by reviewing skills in the job descriptions you’re targeting. If you possess these skills, incorporate these terms into your resume.
REPLACE ‘OBJECTIVE’ WITH A PERSONAL STATEMENT
Your resume isn’t about you but about what you can offer to a prospective employer. Get rid of the ‘Objective Statement’ and replace this with ‘Personal Statement’ (also known as ‘Branding Statement,’ ‘Qualifications Profile,’ or ‘Professional Profile.’)
Personal statement is typically around 3-6 sentences in length. Essentially, it’s an introductory paragraph that is located at the top part of your resume, immediately following your contact information. It’s the most valuable part of your resume as it immediately creates the first impression and encourages the hiring manager or recruiter to read on.
Create a personal statement that will summarise your:
- years of experience in the target industry or position
- highest and most relevant qualification to the roles you seek
- key skills and strengths, supporting them with proof
HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS & MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Measurable achievements, or those you can quantify, matter more than the design of your resume. The quantifiable achievements you’ve made are unique to you and play a vital role in presenting the unique value you offer to employers.
Even if your role doesn’t involve any hard numbers or figures, you can still include key achievements to give your resume that extra oomph.
For instance, you can mention the number of people you’ve managed or trained, or the decrease in hours or cost you’ve saved by implementing a new system.
AGE-PROOF YOUR RESUME
The standard rule of thumb is to include your last 10 years of work experience. Although it’s also important to consider how relevant and important older work experience are to the jobs you’re currently looking for. If some of your older roles are relevant to the roles you’re seeking, then by all means include them on your resume.
While there’s no hard rule, there are other details on your resume that may be drawing more attention to your age than your qualifications;
- Unless you are a high school student, leave off your high school and graduate date
- Unless you graduated in the last 5 years, leave off your college graduation date
- If you have an AOL or Yahoo email address, consider creating a Gmail or Outlook account
- Leave off outdated software such as Windows 98, WordPerfect and Lotus Notes
If you’re trying to question why age matters to some employers, think about it from their perspective. With over 20 years of experience in a particular field, you may be desiring a salary that’s already outside of their budget. You may also be presenting yourself as overqualified for roles, in which case potential employers may anticipate that you’ll quit the moment a more suitable role presents itself.
KEEP YOUR RESUME UPDATED
Our clients usually come back to us looking to update their resumes only when they heard about a great job opportunity. This should be avoided.
Don’t put unnecessary stress on yourself. Start by listing any achievements and contributions you’ve had each month. Every six months, update your resume to reflect changing responsibilities and accomplishments.
Also include on your resume relevant on-the-job training and online courses you’ve completed to keep your skills fresh.
Also, there’ll be details on your current resume that no longer feel relevant. To keep this document concise and aligned with your current career aspiration, delete older information, like your high school diploma or first job out of college.
The key is to always be ready to apply for a new and better role if and when it presents itself.
Candidates are lining up to fill roles in the best careers. Give the hiring managers and recruiters a taste of your greatness from the first line of resume (your personal statement), and pack the rest of the document with undeniable examples of your success.
With a well-crafted resume, you’ll be poised to start lining up interviews this 2019.
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