In a competitive job market, you should ensure your resume adheres to a number of key criteria. Resume trends change over time – it’s important to keep on top of current employer preferences to get noticed. From resume templates to content, what are the important things to include – and avoid – in a resume in 2018?
Contemporary, modern format
The old trend for resumes to be lengthy and include fancy fonts and long-winded spiels is over (somewhat sadly! Who else fondly remembers WordArt?). These days, resumes should be clear, succinct and concise. The preference is to use black, white and grey colours only (unless you’re in a creative industry, in which case, you can be a bit more inventive). Make sure your resume is presented in a fresh and modern resume template – a dated design can leave an employer feeling the applicant may be a bit ‘behind’ too.
You may have heard that some recruitment companies use software to scan for keywords to select jobseekers to proceed to the next stage of their application. It’s therefore important to ensure you use relevant keywords appropriately. For example...
Mining applicants should emphasise safety-related keywords within all sections of their resume, including skills and duties. You can identify likely resume keywords from the job ad, and also from the employer’s website. These are like gold mines for job seekers.
Demonstrate key achievements
A modern resume should include key achievements, as well as skills. Rather than simply stating you’re committed to excellent customer service – identify key examples that demonstrate this. For example, recently a client wanted to express that she had strong customer service skills. I asked her to consider what evidence she had for this. She explained that the year before she had won an award for customer service within her role – but this wasn’t on her old resume! In another example, a sales professional said he had ‘excellent sales skills’. I asked him to quantify this – he explained he had contributed to a 15% increase in sales over the previous financial year so I ensured this was highlighted in his new resume. This information is a lot more helpful to an employer (summed up nicely by my old school motto – deeds count!).
Leave out lengthy lists of hobbies
While it was common in older resumes to see a lengthy list of hobbies and interests, the reality is – most employers really don’t care that you enjoy reading and cooking in your spare time. The exception is if your hobbies have relevance to the role you are applying for. For example, recently I wrote a resume for a person applying to work in Antarctica. This highly competitive role sought applicants who could demonstrate a spirit of adventure, so I included his hobbies of ice climbing and helicopter flying (yes, he was as cool as he sounds).
Targeted to the job you are applying for
Career changes are getting more and common; we often see people with diverse experience and qualifications and sometimes it can be quite a task to determine how to present all of that information effectively. It is recommended that you only emphasise aspects of your career history that target you to the job you are applying for. For example, I recently completed a resume for someone applying for work as a retail manager. A review of his resume noted that as well as retail, he had worked as a dive instructor for several years, and had extensive qualifications related to this. We left these qualifications off his resume, since they were irrelevant to his retail application. Of course we mentioned the dive career (gaps on a resume should really be explained), but emphasised the retail experience much more strongly.
Resumes are your golden opportunity to stand out to your future employer, and make a good first impression. Use the opportunity wisely!