The number one trend in resumes 2022—summaries are in, objectives are out. The summary is a section that appears after your contact information and before the chronological list of your work experience. This professional statement at the top of your resume describes your most relevant experience, skills, and achievements. The purpose: to explain your qualifications for the job in a couple of sentences. You want to catch the hiring professional’s attention and convince them to read the whole resume document. It’s longer and more detailed than the objective and is a concise statement of your skills and qualifications.
Other things that will date you if they appear on your resume: a street address is number one. However, you should provide a link to your LinkedIn profile. Having a LinkedIn profile is highly recommended for anyone in business in any capacity. But a physical address so that hiring managers can mail a letter to your house—that’s a no.
If you graduated from college before the year 2000, you should remove the dates from your education section.
Also take a hard look at the past fifteen years of your work history. You need to condense it and even delete some older roles. You can always add a section for your early career history if you like. That can house jobs you are particularly proud of. Otherwise, there’s no reason to grant that much real estate to your entry-level positions. The exception is when they are relevant to the job you are going for.
Your resume needs to pass through an applicant tracking system (ATS.) Human review is definitely part of the process, but more than likely your resume will be run through this software. Make yours ATS-friendly with keywords and a plain design that does not include columns, photos, tables, text boxes, lines, or boxes. You can still make your resume attractive with shading and oversized fonts.
Today’s resumes are shorter than in the past. Keep yours to two pages. If you’re only a year or two out of college, make that one page.
Employers want to know what soft skills you’ve gained from your time in the workplace. Take a look at job descriptions and you’ll see more soft skills than in the past. That includes terms like communication, strategic communication, team leadership, and team builder. If you are dependable, self-motivated, integrous, or responsible, you should add that to your skills section.
This doesn’t preclude technical skills. Add them as well, even if you are not applying for a technical job. If you are missing a technical skill that’s being called for in job descriptions, consider if that is keeping you from gaining traction in your search. Everything else about your application might be perfect, but not having that one accomplishment may be holding you back.
Remember: your resume is never frozen in time. If you need some training to be better suited for a job, now’s the time to get it. And any time you learn something that applies to your future career, get it on your resume. You don’t have to wait until you have a full-blown degree. You can gain professional certification in two weeks or even in a one-day class.
What Format Do Most Employers Prefer for Resumes?
Reverse chronological order remains the gold standard for a good resume. This shows your job experience arranged by date with the most current position listed first.
What about free resume templates?
Beware the free resume template. Some of them have been available for a long time. If they are still offered for free, why is that?
If your impulse in looking at these templates is to learn where all the sections should go, you could easily find an online article that shows you everything without having to resort to a template. Starting with somebody else’s template leaves you vulnerable to ending up with funky formatting, including elements that jump around on the page. Not being in control of the formatting is going to get very frustrating very quickly.
How about Creative Resume Templates?
If you are working in a creative field, you have a green light to be as creative as you like with your resume. Graphic designers, for example, might want to incorporate fun design elements. Logo work could be imbedded as graphics. Note: these graphics won’t pass through the applicant tracking system. They are for the human reviewer.
What Are Employers Looking for in a Job Application?
If you are a job seeker early in your career writing a resume, you should talk a bit more about what you took away from an experience, what you learned. Do that instead of feeling the pressure to focus on some big success bullet, which you may not have achieved at this point. To be honest, you probably weren’t given full authority to boost profit 50% when you were first starting out. If you put that in your first job description, it’s going to look a little suspicious.
It’s valid to say, “I did all the groundwork,” or “I learned to do all the basic operations in this area.”
A beginner in stock market trading said about his professional experience, “Day in and day out, these are the trades I made. This is the volume I hit. I learned a lot about XYZ in the industry.” One of his key takeaways was learning to focus, to be detail-oriented for long periods of time. You can list qualities such as “detail-oriented” as bullet points on your resume and cover letter, but they can easily blend into the background. You’re much better off to apply the basic writing principle of “Show, Don’t Tell.” Give an example to illustrate your point instead of just saying it.
It’s great to look at examples of resumes, not to copy word for word but to move you past writer’s blocks. When you are stumped, seeing how others tackled the same problem is really helpful. Put your own twist on it; customize it to your specific situation.
If you are looking for ideas for resume design and content, your best bet is your local library. We are still in a world where paper documents rule. Your local library will provide access to a broad range of materials—books, digital materials, databases, and audiobooks—all for free. You’ll find everything from a simple resume template to professional resume templates. And don’t forget that librarians can be an amazing resource for your job hunt.
Here are some excellent books to spark new ideas when you are crafting your resume:
Your resume is the foundation of your entire job search. Like everything else in the process, it must evolve to fit today’s standards. This book will help you write the laser-focused content that engages the reader and tells your whole career story in tight, economical language that keeps your reader engaged. It shows how to focus on information that is relevant to your target market and integrate the keywords that are vital to being found online.
You will find out how to meet the complexities of today’s highly competitive and technologically driven employment market. Includes resume samples, designs, and ATS and e-resume guidelines, along with chapters for jobseekers with special circumstances such as career change, military transition, and return to work.
- Knock Em Dead Resumes 11th edition: A Killer Resume Gets More Job Interviews by Martin Yate
This step-by-step guide with one hundred plus examples will illustrate how to build your brand; how to connect one-to-one with the reader; how to craft a resume that really works. An up-to-the-minute New York Times bestseller that’s been updated annually for the past 30+ years, it’s part of a 16-book series on job search and career management.
- How to Write an Amazing IT Resume: Get the Interview Every Time by Baron Fendler
A terrific resource to sell yourself in the information technology field, whether you are just starting out, or you are a veteran with years of experience in the industry. All you need to know to catch the eye of hiring professionals along with a comprehensive skills list, 120 impact verbs to start your bullet points, resume grammar rules and formatting guidelines, plus a proofreading checklist. You’ll find a chapter dedicated to each type of IT job with tips on how to sell yourself for that niche. Discover how to turn basic bullet points into hooks.
- Federal Resume Guidebook: Strategies for Writing a Winning Federal Electronic Resume, KSAs, and Essays, 4th ed.by Kathryn K. Troutman
There are roughly 2 million civilian government jobs throughout 120 federal departments and agencies (not including the U.S. Postal Service) throughout the world. This book helps you master the application process with a hard-hitting, attention-getting resume. It teaches all the ins and outs of the online resume builder that’s required for submitting federal resume, including USAJOBS, Quick hire, Avue Central, and Resumix. You’ll learn to write effective KSA’s, ECQ’s, essays, and short answers. It also includes dozens of samples of federal resumes in online resume builders.
Entry Level Resumes
If you are just starting out, you might have a freshly minted degree that details your educational experiences. Projects you worked on, new technology in development.
A just-out-of-school engineer applied to sewage treatment plants for work as an engineer. She had been a part of a groundbreaking technology development project in school. This experience put her right on the cutting edge in her field, and she had better, more current information than competitors with ten years’ experience working in the field. Even though this took place while she was pursuing her undergraduate degree, it took center stage on her resume.
Don’t downplay your skills or experience because they came from when you were getting your degree or serving as an intern. You may have gotten a front-row seat at something that other people really want to learn. You can translate the information you gained into a well-earned skill that will be of high value to prospective employers.
You may find yourself having worked for many years in your industry. Now you are starting to wonder if you are getting too old for certain jobs.
Maybe you are at the “good old days” stage, where your role is not as exciting or as impressive as it once was. Here’s an example of when you should call in a professional resume writer. This person can help you shift your focus from your past successes to recent accomplishments. That’s what you are selling.
Be honest when you are in a negative space about your employer, or you undervalue the work you do. Bringing in another set of eyes can help you see the good in what you are doing today.
One note of caution: you may have had an outstanding career, but no one is going to read a six-page resume. Let it go. Condense those early years into one section, then feel free to tell the stories about your past in your interview.
How Do You Rate Your Job Search?
Job applicants run into problems when they become so focused on the job hunt that they lose track of their target goals. They have their attention focused on volume. A lot of seekers judge a job hunt by how many applications they get out in a week. They can easily miss the mark by sending materials out to just anybody. This can be a waste of time for everyone.
But the real tragedy occurs when you do find the perfect spot, and you send out the wrong materials. You don’t take the time to customize a generic resume with the right terms for that market. You might be a good fit for that job title, but how would anyone know? You’re using the wrong language.
You can’t measure your success with volume. One well-tailored application with one connection in that company might be all you need to do to get the interview. And in the end, you are only looking for one job—the right one.
Good job search coaches can help. They tune you in to the stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, active involvement in the change and where you stand.
Check Out My Website
Check out my website for examples of resumes for people with job gaps, for those in both early careers and mid-career, for a former entrepreneur moving into a corporate setting, and for job hoppers who need to tie together the pieces of a scattered work history.