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Resume Tips to Transform Your Job Search
March 18, 2019

This is an extract from the  post  56 Resume Tips to Transform Your Job Search that first Jobscan Blog.

Creating a resume for your job search should be easy. Download a template, write up your work and education history, then fire it off to eager potential employers. But once you start, the questions start piling up. Are objective statements still a thing? Do I put the company name or my job title first? Which skills and duties do they care about? How small can I make my fonts and margins to fit everything on a single page? And what’s this I’m hearing about applicant tracking systems?

We’ve got answers– 56 resume tips to guide you through the process.

Every Time: Name, phone number, and email address: With so much else to consider, job seekers sometimes forget to make themselves reachable. Just ask an experienced recruiter.

Ensure that your name is prevalent at the top of your resume, followed closely by a personal phone number and email address. Don’t use your work contact information if you have other options.

List a professional-sounding email address: Your email address is typically at the top of your resume and one of the first things a recruiter will see, so dumblonde1249@aol.com won’t cut it.

While it’s your personal email address, make sure it still strikes a professional tone and is with a modern provider. Forbes once found that 31% of resumes were thrown out due to unprofessional email addresses. Cute or funny usernames don’t belong on a professional resume.

Outdated email clients like AOL or hotmail can also be a turn off. If you don’t already have one, set up a free Gmail address based around your first and last name.

Know where your education section should go: For most job seekers, the education section should be kept simple — degree, graduation year, school name, location — and placed below work experience.

Recent grads should move the education section near the top of their resume, underneath their contact information. Listing relevant coursework, honors, clubs, extracurriculars, and other job-relevant details will help make up for a lack of professional experience.

Be aware that some industries or companies prefer to see education highlighted no matter how long you’ve been working. For example, Google asks their applicants to lead with education.

Do not add a headshot to your resume: It’s become trendy for resume templates to include a place for your photo, but this may come back to bite you. Some recruiters automatically reject any resume that includes the applicant’s photograph to keep themselves above claims of discrimination.

“[Using a headshot] drives me nuts and immediately opens the door to recruiter discrimination,” a corporate tech recruiter told Jobscan, “which is obviously something everyone is trying to avoid.”

CAR and STAR aren’t just for interviews: These methods are more commonly used to prep for interviews, both for interviewees and interviewers. They are also a great template for presenting your top skills and measurable results on your resume.

You won’t have room to address each of these items for every duty and accomplishment, but they can make your top selling points more impactful. What happened? What were you trying to accomplish? How did you deal with it? What was the end result?

CAR: Context/Challenge, Action, Result
STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result

Add months to your employment dates: When listing your start and end dates in your work experience, failing to include months can make a hiring manager suspicious. After all, an employment period of “2018-2019” could mean anything from one month to two years.

Stating “November 2017-June 2018” shows the hiring manager you have nothing to hide, even if the employment period was only six months. Additionally, some applicant tracking systems need the months to accurately parse your resume data into a digital candidate profile.

Choose the right resume font: Recruiters spend mere seconds deciding whether your resume is worth investigating. Make your resume easy to read and skimmable with a straight-forward, common font. The best resume fonts include serif fonts like Cambria, Garamond and Palatino or Tahoma, Calibri, Helvetica, and Verdana.

Digital applicant tracking systems could also be tripped up by unconventional fonts, which could display in the software as gibberish (like this ⌷⌷⌷⌷) or cause errors.

Demonstrate your soft skills: All hiring organizations want to hire employees with excellent soft skills — leadership, communication, creativity, etc.

Unfortunately for job seekers, it’s very difficult to include these on your resume. Just like with a hard skills list, you can’t just list problem solving and critical thinking on your resume and expect a recruiter to believe it. Once again, working these soft skills into your resume is all about providing context.

Use accomplishments, measurable results, and examples throughout your resume to prove your soft skills.

Changing careers? Lean on your transferable skills: Being able to clearly demonstrate your soft skills is especially important when transitioning to a new career. Soft skills are inherently more transferrable than hard skills.

Before you write your career change resume, take time to identify all your best soft skills and how they will benefit you in your new environment. For example, if you’re a teacher pursuing a career in sales, your ability to communicate and present to others is a huge plus.

Duties tell, accomplishments sell: Most people only list duties on their resume, but what good is that if the recruiter or hiring manager has no idea whether you’re good at it? Replacing duties with accomplishments can set your resume apart.

Duty: Respond to customer service inquiries via email and live chat platform.
Accomplishment: Respond to an average of 176 customer service live chats and 203 emails per week, improving response time by 74% and customer satisfaction by 31% between 2016 to 2017.

Duty: Write articles for blog according to SEO best practices.
Accomplishment: Write articles for for blog according to SEO best practices, resulting in 53% increase in organic search traffic YoY.

Use active voice and action words: Using passive voice on your resume will make you seem insecure and unwilling to take responsibility for your successes. It also tends to be needlessly wordy, using up precious real estate and making it harder for a recruiter or hiring manager to read.

For example:

Passive Voice: Over 10,000 widgets were shipped each month by the department I oversaw.
Active Voice: Oversaw shipment of over 10,000 widgets per month.

Use strong resume action words (designed, eliminated, led) at the beginning of your sentences to focus your duties and accomplishments while showing off your confidence.


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