Honesty moment. I was let go, for the first time, recently. It was difficult to come to terms with but 20/20 hindsight (see what I did there) it was for the better and from what I’m hearing, I’m very glad my manager made the decision for me.
Since then, I’ve been taking time to figure what I really want to do. I’ve jumped from job to job, trying to find the right place and even at Massge Envy, the place where it all started, I was extremely unsatisfied. The best part about the job was being the leader and my staff. I loved building my team and refining the skills in my team for them to be successful, coaching my sales associates on best practices and seeing them reach goal after goal. But I wasn’t happy; I wasn’t fulfilled. There were days of course where I said that I loved my job but at the end of the day, it wasn’t going to be my end career.
I’ve had some time to explore all different types of jobs out there and I’ve had to adjust how I approach my job search. Namely, I’ve had to update my resume and figure out what types of resumes work for certain jobs.
So keep reading for my 6 resume tips for 2020!
1: USE KEYWORDS FROM THE JOB POSTING
So, now that I’ve had time to think and dissect and digest my own goals, desires, aspirations; I’ve re-entered the job market and it’s been tough but I’ve learned some things and have relearned other things about searching for a job.
This I know from my own experience with hiring and using websites to vet potential candidates. Everything we do now is processed by AI and some sort of algorithm. With that being said, it’s so important that you use keywords in your resume that you find in the job posting.
When you apply through Indeed or LinkedIn, you’re either applying directly through those channels or you’re prompted to create an account with the company’s Workday or ADP or BambooHR link. That’s because these tools make it so incredibly easy to filter applicant. Yup, you’re resume is being filtered just how you filter, “Price: lowest to highest” on Amazon. I used Hireology which gives you options of which sites you want to use but Indeed is free to post. I was getting 10-100 applications a day depending on the soecific job posting, when I posted and (kid you not) time of day it was posted.
With that many applications, I would use a keyword search so I could see who specifically was qualified without looking at every single resume individually. I’m not the only one. Every hiring manager out there has a similar process. If you’re applying for a call center position but buzz words like, “customer service” or “verbal communication” aren’t on your resume, you’re going to have a hard time.
2: HIGHLIGHT RELEVENT EXPERIENCE AND SHOWCASE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
I learned a few things from my time as a peer advisor for the career development center in college and one of those things was that your resume shouldn’t be crammed with your entire work history and you need to show what you did not just say it.
Whoever is doing the hiring is busy so while your 3-page resume with graphics and charts on it is slightly impressive, they won’t be reading through all of that and in fact, it can backfire on you if the position prefers brevity. At most your resume could be front and back and please, no staples or paperclips. If they lose half your application because it was paperclipped and one page just slipped out or if your staples are catching on everything, they’ll just dismiss the application for being a nuisance.
When applying on sites like LinkedIn or Indeed it’s important to remember that whatever info you put on your profile, they’re creating a resume for you which is NOT always in your best interest. These created resumes are vague, uncreative and impersonal. Take the time to click, “apply with different resume” and send your actual resume. It makes a difference and why put forth all the effort just to send something completely different.
Whatever the case, use your relevant experience and try to keep your resume to one page. If it’s older than 5 years, or not relevant to the specific job, get rid of it. You can politely place at the bottom of your resume, “Full work history and references available upon request” and that problem is solved or you can have a section labeled, “Other Experience” and simply list your other positions, companies and dates but without the details.
This bring me to the second half of #2, showcasing accomplishments. More often, companies and hiring managers are more interested in HOW you did something rather than you just did it. Gone are the days when you’re experience was limited to single line bullet points like, “Increased YOY sales during first year” and gone are the days when this could land you an interview.
Instead, use statistics or simply elaborate a little more, “Increased YOY sales from X% to Y% by implementing bootcamps to refine sales skills”, this is much more impressive and since it’s open ended, might pique the interviewers interest to want to ask you more.
3: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHITE SPACE
Please for the sake of the interviewers’ eyes, utilize white space. One of the career counselors I worked with in college gave me an awesome piece advice about this that I’ve used for my own personal resume and one that I use when looking at resumes, “When it comes to white space, your resume should be readable upside down just as it is rightside up. If it’s not, you need more white space.”
I cannot stress this enough. There is nothing that will get your resume moved to the back of the line faster than if it looks like a page just packed with letters. It’s not professional, it’s not esthetically pleasing and can convey that you’re disorganized or not detail oriented. This will kill your chances especially if you’re applying for a design or creator type position. It’s really just that simple. Play around with line spacing, margins, letter spacing, font and layout to find something that’s going to work. My margins are at .5 all around so that I can fit as much as possible on the page while still intelligently using white space. Whatever you change, make sure it prints well and looks exactly how you made it when downloaded as a PDF or Word doc.
4: USE A POP OF COLOR OR DESIGN ASPECT
This was a HUGE no-no when I was helping people write their resumes but it makes sense now. Our world is still super PC and corporate but there’s also a ton of competition so standing out is extremely important. This is one way to accomplish this and if you do it right, it will make your resume memorable.
An example of this, that’s really extreme, is in Legally Blonde when Elle Woods applies to Harvard and sends her admissions essay on pink and scented paper. Like I said, a little extreme but it worked for her and if you tone it down a bit, it can for you too. One of the best resumes I saw, or rather the most memorable resume I saw, had a very simple layout but across the top of the resume, instead of a boring regular line, this applicant used a fancy squiggly to separate her contant info from the rest of her resume but under each heading she used the same design. Here I am talking about it some years later.
Using color or a design aspect isn’t death to your resume so long as it’s done correctly and your choice is appropriate for the job and company. You wouldn’t want to apply at a marketing firm with a bright green font and letter blocks as your separator, save that for the daycare application. But you might bold your name in a nice muted blue or purple and use the same color for all your headings or, as the previous example shows, use a simple design element. It can make a huge difference.
5: EMPHASIZE SOFTWARE AND TECHNOLOGY PROFICIENCIES
Huge guys, huge. Our world is DOMINATED by technology and software and while you may think knowing how to navigate and use the Microsoft Office suite or G-Suite is common knowledge, it’s not. I cannot tell you how many times someone was hired specifically for their software or technical skills just to find out they really didn’t know how to add a pivot table into Excel or share a document on Google drive. You don’t need details about what you know but if you put it down, it better be true. Even if this may not seem relevant to the job, at some point it will be and depending on what you know, it can say a lot about you.
For instance, I know Salesforce, WordPress, Meevo, Canva, ServiceNow, Hireology, Paylocity and Millennium (just to name a few). Of course I know Salesforce, I was in sales, Paylocity is an HR software for new hire paperwork, time keeping and all that jazz, Meevo and Millennium are both scheduling software, WordPress and Canva are digital marketing and website design tools and ServiceNow is a ticketing system used for submitting and tracking service tickets. It’s all over the place but it shows I’m tech savvy, comfortable working with software and technology and it shows I learn it easily.
You don’t have to list everything you know but you need to list the basics; Microsoft, Google office products but highlight the ones you really know. If you’re an Excel whiz, put Excel in there on it’s own or if you really want to get creative, make a table with three columns: Expert, Proficient, Knowledge Of, then categorize your skills. It’ll take some space and time but if done correctly, can look very nice and organized while honestly conveying your working knowledge of those things.
6: ACCENTUATE SOFT SKILLS
Yes, you need to do this throughout your entire resume. Every work history entry should have at least 3 things that convey you possess necessary soft skills. What do I mean by this? Conflict resolution; with customers, employees? Interviewing/Recruiting; what program did you use, how did you find candidates … things that aren’t tangible that you do well, make sure they’re in your resume.
This world is a sensitive one so showing you possess soft skills as well as whatever technical knowledge you’ll need for a job is a big plus. It paints a more well rounded picture of who you are, the training you might need and your work style for the recruiter or interviewer.
Everyone has some form of soft skills that you learned just from everyday life, use that and build on it.
So, now that you have some insider information from trial and error, go out there and get that amazing job!
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