If you think about the job seeking process from a fundamental point of view, the idea of generating a resume seems archaic in nature. Moreover, old practices such as including objective statements or including “references available upon request” or even printing it on ivory resume paper, have been slow to phase out of the process. With so many ways to seek and apply for jobs, what are the latest and greatest best practices when it come to resumes? We polled the recruiting team here at Solving IT, and the consensus is that hiring managers care most about the following traits in a resume:
- Old Rule: Format and spelling
- New Rule: No change!
Consistent formatting and proper spelling are crucial to all resumes, no matter the position or industry – without exception. This is your first (and only) chance to prove the quality of your work before any type of phone screen or interview.
- Old Rule: 1 page
- New Rule: 2 to 4 pages
As technical positions increase in complexity, it requires a lot more space to convey exactly what you’ve covered and accomplished throughout your tenure on a project or in a role. Generally speaking, the last 5 years are the most relevant, and after that, you can keep it brief. If you absolutely cannot get it down to 4 pages, the maximum recommended page count is 6, so long as it remains fluid and organized.
- Old Rule: Get creative
- New rule: Keep it simple / Stay organized
Keep it simple and organized. With new tools on the market that enable more candidates than ever to apply for jobs (i.e. LinkedIn), the desire to stand out can outweigh common sense on a resume. The truth is, many companies have back end systems that scan or parse resumes, and you want yours to make it past that point and still be legible. Therefore, it’s best to keep it simple and organized so no matter the system (or person) reading it, your resume is sure to be seen and understood.
- Old Rule: Use a thesaurus to find big words to say what you need to say
- New Rule: Simplify
Much like the tips on length and style, keep your language as simple as possible too. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in internal lingo or acronyms, so make sure you check whether or not those terms are industry standard or if there is an easier way to express it.
- Old Rule: Bullet point the tactical elements of your role
- New Rule: Convey passion and personality
Many roles require a lot more than the job description lets on, and often times we take on responsibilities outside of our position. This has historically translated onto resumes as a bulleted list of every little task completed, which reads poorly. Try to strip out the noise and include the projects and successes that play to your strengths, showcase your personality and passion for your work.
- Old Rule: One blanket resume for all positions
- New Rule: Make sure your resume aligns with the job, ensure all applicable skills are clearly represented
Tailoring your resume to fit the specific job you are applying for only increases your chances of being considered. Make it clear that you have all of the applicable skills, and your track record in demonstrating them, as well as aligning your experience with the needs of the role. Tell a story with your experience that illustrates why you’re great for the next role.
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