Resume trends come and go, to accommodate the needs of recruiters, hiring professionals and others assessing candidates. But you’ll never go wrong (now and probably forever) if you let the following strategy drive the content in your resume:
- Decide which employers to target.
- Research specific things they need help with right now, that you are uniquely qualified to help them with.
- Define your personal brand, which helps you determine what it is about you that makes you potentially valuable to them, in terms of skill AND personal qualities.
- Generate chemistry for who you are and how you get things done.
- Differentiate your unique value proposition in a way that will resonate with those target employers.
- Nothing in your resume should be arbitrary. Everything in it should focus on your value prop, and the qualifications, experience and personal attributes you have that will help your target employers as soon as you hit the ground.
She wisely cautions that, although resumes are important and likely will always factor into job search in some way:
“Job seekers often put a lot of pressure on the resume to do the heavy lifting for them in a search, when efforts are in fact best spent on networking and relationship building. A resume should be a supporting tool, not the primary tool.”
Resume Trends from the Experts
Career coach Bob McIntosh
Let’s do away with verbose, cliche-ridden, value-lacking Summary statements. I see 2021 as the year recruiters and other hiring authorities say enough of poorly written Summary statements. Instead, they should be labeled, “Value Proposition.” It’s not a new concept, but it’s one that makes more sense.
Job candidates should be thinking, “Okay, Mr./Ms. employer, this is what I will deliver to you; and here is evidence of it.”
INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY: In the past five years, I have implemented processes at three companies, increasing productivity on average 45%. (Less than 2 lines on paper, Arial, 12 pt.)
LEADING OTHERS: If you need someone who will lead your teams to out produce your competitors, my former VP and employers before her will attest to this. (2 lines on paper, Arial, 12 pt.)
Lastly, these value statements MUST be relevant. In other words, three value statements will reflect what’s written in the job ad.
I know other resume writers have done this. Let’s do away with the fluff and instead speak to the needs of the employer.
Careers industry advocate Marie Zimenoff
Two things driven by more AI in the screening process..
1: Resume strategy will be more important. Keyword stuffing won’t work. People will need a solid foundation of content that speaks to how they’ve used skills (and even better, if it shows how they added value as always!).
2: The information that is public about you will now be part of your resume. The new systems bring in publicly available online information into your job seeker profile in an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). The good part of this is that our interests beyond what fits on or is appropriate for a resume can help tell our story … and, people will need to be even that much more thoughtful about how they build their online brand.
Bonus… these systems will care less and less about formatting issues, so we can format for the human reader!
Executive resume writer Erin Kennedy
Add what you did to help your company around Covid. It was/is such a strange new time that suddenly employees find themselves doing tasks they never thought they would do. This adds more value to your overall story- i.e. no matter what comes up, you jump in to help where you can…etc.
Recruiter Ed Han
It seems job seekers often see the blank page as an opportunity to list in exhaustive fashion everything they have done at every position, current and past.
This is a trap. A resume needs to be a curated list of accomplishments and as Bob McIntosh, put it so well, present a clear value proposition.
Educated job seekers understand the importance of customizing a resume for a given opportunity. Part and parcel of customization is inclusion of what’s relevant and exclusion of what’s not.
Curation remains a wildly underrecognized part of resume creation based upon what I see.
Career advisor Ana Lokotkova
I’m seeing companies paying more attention to candidates’ soft skills. There are a lot of skilled professionals in the job market, and now employers can fish for more than technical qualifications or hard skills.
For job seekers, it means more than adding “team player” onto their resume. It means showing proof of how they were able to exercise their soft skills, and which outcomes that led to.
Career change advocate Lezlie Garr
The biggest current trend that I’m seeing is the focus on soft and transferable skills. Since these skills are universal, they are key to allowing candidates to be flexible when seeking a new role, possibly in a new capacity, or even a new industry.
For 2021, you must differentiate yourself in an increasingly competitive job market. This isn’t about choosing some new crazy resume layout. Emphasize your individual value, demonstrate your adaptability (especially in terms of ever-changing work environments), and communicate how your unique blend of experience and skills will benefit the company.
Executive Career Transitions Coach Emily Lawson
Get crystal clear on your target job and have that reflect in your resume.
Why? There is nothing that will help you get through a recruiting funnel more than being highly qualified and the right fit.
Here’s 5 steps to help:
✓ Research the job – by finding several targeted job posts with similar descriptions and make a note of the core functions and qualifiers.
✓ Ensure you are qualified and list examples – of how you have performed those functions and the value it provided along with the education, skills, etc. required for the role.
✓ Make a note of keywords – that are associated with the primary functions of the role and make sure they are highlighted.
✓ Eliminate irrelevant information – by removing content from your resume that doesn’t provide value for that targeted role.
✓ Communicate fit – by researching the culture and branding of the company and include language is included that shows alignment.
The goal is to make it easy for hiring professionals to quickly see “at a glance” that you are highly qualified and the right fit for the organization.
You can be referred internally and get faster exposure; but if you are not highly qualified for your target role and a good fit, then your candidacy will likely end there.
Legal recruiter Wendy Schoen
There needs to be two different categories of advice: those in #jobsearch mode and those who are passively looking (happy at their jobs but religiously keeping their paper up-to-date in case of the what if?).
If you are creating a #resume for a #jobsearch then by all means have a Value proposition section on your #resume. If, however, you are in passive mode, I, as a recruiter, want to see that #summarysection. I want you to have stressed the most important things that your resume is going to tell me.
Interview coach Sarah Johnston
TREND: I am seeing companies focus more on soft skills. Google coined the term “Googliness” as a quality they seek in their hires. For this reason, I spend a lot of time with my clients focusing on the way they build out high performing teams, what leading with vision means and how they are creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Many of my clients documents now include a leadership philosophy and results around people management.
TOP TIP: Don’t just dust off the same resume you used for your last job search. Start from scratch with your target job in mind. The key to a strong resume is knowing your target audience and addressing their pain points. Just because you spent 30% of your time in 2019 working on a project, doesn’t mean you need to give up 30% of your resume real estate to the results from that initiative.
Executive resume writer Debra Boggs
With so many candidates experiencing long-term unemployment or a furlough in 2020, it’s important to show how you spent that time. Actively seek out professional development on sites like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning to not only elevate your skills to but show that you stayed active and engaged during your gap. You can also work on volunteer projects for causes you care about during this time. With the job market tighter than it’s been in years, this is a way for job seekers to differentiate themselves.