If getting a better job is one of your New Year’s resolutions, now is a good time to take a fresh look at your resume. With an evolving job market reinventing the way employers look for talent, you’ll want to learn the latest trends before you start your job search.
We spoke with Aerotek’s Candice Johnson, an experienced recruiting lead, to get the answers to questions many job seekers will be asking in 2020.
It depends on the position you’re applying for and where you are in your career.
If you’re just starting out or are looking for an entry-level position, a one-page resume is a good idea. With concise wording and clean organization, you can convey all the information hiring managers need. They’ll appreciate that you value their time.
But if you’re mid-career or above, feel free to ignore this “rule.”
“If I’m filling a management or executive position, I definitely need more than one page,” says Johnson. “I want to learn about the candidate as a person — what they’ve done, their accomplishments, and what type of person they are.”
If you’re submitting your resume online — and in 2020, who isn’t? — hyperlink to relevant work, writing samples and the projects you’re most proud of. It’s an economical way to provide more information and avoid resume bloat.
Career objective statements used to be a staple of resumes, but that trend has changed. Hiring managers now are increasingly interested in what Johnson calls the “nuts and bolts” — do you have the skills and experience to do the job? And they want to understand that information quickly.
Consider opening with a brief personal profile that summarizes your strengths and accomplishments.
“Leading off with 6–8 bullet points that summarize the skills, experience and education directly related to the position will help you get noticed,” says Johnson. “Unlike recruiters, who’ll read through your entire resume, hiring managers have limited time. If they’re not convinced that you can do the job from the first few lines of your resume, they’ll move on to the next submission.”
The last time we started a new decade, it made sense to provide a laundry list of your newfound computer skills and play-by-play knowledge of programs. In 2020, not so much.
“If the position requires experience with a specific software, be sure to include that,” says Johnson. “But with more general skills, you don’t need to go into too much detail. If you know to use Excel, you don’t have to document your knowledge of pivot tables.”
And knowing common software, like Microsoft Word, is a given. Don’t include it on your resume.
Volunteer work, yes; hobbies, no.
With more employers paying attention to culture fit, your time spent working at a soup kitchen or coaching Little League can give hiring managers a sense of who you are outside of the job, and that’s a positive.
“I’m seeing more companies interested in how a person interacts with their community and impacts others,” says Johnson. “And because volunteering can require a significant commitment, you’re also showing your time management skills in a tangible way.”
But don’t waste precious real estate on hobbies or personal interests. However strong your crochet game is, it’s not resume-worthy.
This one’s a no-brainer: LinkedIn is a must-have, not only for job seekers but for anyone who wants to network in their field. For Johnson, the question is, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of what the platform provides?
“LinkedIn is the first place I tell job seekers to go. Even if you’re not actively looking, it’s a great way to keep in touch with recruiters and with what's going on in your industry.”
But make sure your details are accurate. Once you’ve built out your complete profile, it’s important to sync that information with what’s on your resume.
“I cross-check the resume with what’s posted on LinkedIn,” says Johnson. “I like to see who’s endorsed the candidate, and who’s in their network. I’m also looking for any discrepancies, which can be a red flag and even eliminate someone from consideration.”
If your 2020 resolutions include working with a recruiter, know that the best agencies will provide resume support on everything from layout (simple is best) to keyword searches and hiring algorithms.
However you seek out your next great career opportunity, take the time now to get your resume in order and keep it updated. It’s one resolution that will pay off for years to come.