Five ways to get your resume 2018 ready
Technology has made it easier than ever to find and apply for jobs. Yet, with the average job posting getting approximately 250 applications it's no wonder that 75% of companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) to automate their recruiting process and screen resumes. Even with this pre-screening in place recruiters are overloaded.
“Studies show that due to the overwhelming number of resumes recruiters now receive online, they are forced to "skim" the ones that make it through the ATS in order to weed out candidates that aren't a 100 percent match for the role. In fact, one study indicates if you don't get a recruiter's attention with your resume in under 6 seconds, you're being tossed.
Nonetheless, there are steps you can take to make it past the ATS and get a recruiter's attention.
- Ditch the Objective Statement and instead add a flexible Professional Summary. When applying to a job your objective is clear – you want the job. What is not so clear, and needs to be within the first six seconds, is that you have the skills and experience the job requires. Replace that boring and trite objective statement with a flexible professional summary. By flexible I mean that your professional summary statement will change depending on the job to which you are applying. Yes, I am saying that you will take a moment before applying to any job to craft a professional summary that immediately calls out how your experience fits the role. For example, if the job description states that all qualified applicants will have 10 years of experience doing X, X and X, and you have that, then state it immediately at the top of your resume. Don’t require already overworked recruiters and hiring managers to dig through your resume to make sure the basics are there, tell them right away.
- Link your LinkedIn profile to your resume. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile get one ASAP. Why? Ninety-four percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. That means that after narrowing down the candidate pool recruiters hop on LinkedIn to check you out. They are looking for basics, such as do your employment dates match your resume, but are also looking to see if you have any recommendations, if you participate in groups and, depending on the role, who your connections are. As an added bonus you can see when someone has looked at your profile. So you'll know if someone from the company has visited your page. Pro tip: don’t forget to customize your LinkedIn URL.
- Stop with the bullet point list of job duties - instead focus on accomplishments. Any prospective employer who is hiring someone with your job title knows the basic job responsibilities. You don't need to explain that your work as a Customer Service Representative involved assisting customers. They know that. What they don’t know is what made you the World’s Best Customer Service Representative. Make it clear by highlighting your accomplishments. Call out what made you special and what you achieved. If you can quantify those accomplishments even better! Stating that the process you developed increased customer satisfaction by x% is far more impressive than just stating you developed a process to improve customer satisfaction.
- Don’t try and cram everything onto one page (and stop trying to get fancy). The only people who should have a one page resume are those who are just entering the job market and have very little experience. Most mid-level candidates will have two pages and more experienced folks will most likely have three. I have seen too many “fancy” resumes with text boxes and multiple columns in an effort to condense to one page but in reality all it does is confuse applicant tracking systems and reduce your chance of landing in front of a recruiter. Having said that, anything beyond three pages is most likely not going to be read. So if your resume starts spilling onto a fourth page you need to eliminate some content.
- Lastly, it's okay to sound like a human. This one is a bit controversial and goes against everything we’ve learned about resume writing but it’s okay to use the words “I” or “we” on your resume. Personally, I'm tired of reading oddly written resumes where candidates go to great lengths to not use the word “I”. After all, we are writing about ourselves. What sounds better “Team lead responsible for X” or “I led the team responsible for X”? The latter of course! Your resume can be both professional AND conversational. It might just be refreshing enough to keep the recruiter reading!