New Trends in Resumes – 5 Ways To Capture Them in Yours
Kathy Keshemnberg, NCRW, CCMC
I’ve been writing resumes for more than twenty years, and it seems every few years new trends impact how we construct this job search document. Once again the trends are moving in a different direction, this time driven by the use of handheld electronic devices and advent of social media. Today’s resume is shorter, more succinct, and must quickly (within 7-15 seconds!) convey why you are a qualified candidate.
Here are some ideas to handle common problems encountered by job seekers as they strive to create a concise, but powerful resume.
This is now the most important part of your resume. When someone opens your resume on their Smart phone, this first paragraph is what will no doubt fill the screen. If you can capture their attention with a powerful value proposition statement – what differentiates you from the other candidates – chances are they’ll continue to scroll. On the other hand, if they read the same generic statements they see over and over, they may just move on to the next resume. Demonstrate right away that you are unique.
20+ years of job history
Keep in mind that your most recent experience (past 10-15 years) is of the greatest interest to the hiring manager. After you have presented details and accomplishments about the more recent positions, either significantly scale back the information you include about earlier career positions or create a separate section labeled “Early Career History” or “Additional Experience.” You can then present your job title, company, and one sentence that describes a key accomplishment. In this early history description there is no need to outline job duties – sharing the impact you delivered is more important than what you did back then:
Director of Marketing Communications (1992-1998), XYZ Company: Grew sales 40% and launched catalog and e-commerce website businesses. Also worked as Project Manager (1989-1992) for ABC Company.
Short-term assignments or consulting gigs
The job situation over the past several years has required many job seekers to accept short-term temporary positions or do consulting work while looking for something permanent. Because a lengthy gap isn’t a good strategy, it’s necessary to cover time, but if you list each of these assignments as a separate job entry, the reader is going to assume (at a glance) that you are a job hopper. One strategy to overcome this problem is to group this experience under one heading and then call out individual assignments/accomplishments:
Marketing Consultant, various assignments (2009-present)
ABC Company – Brought in to develop and market new solar product line; positioned new division for sustainable market growth capturing 60% of the local solar hot water market.
XYZ Company – Recruited by CEO to lead new business development efforts; generated $850K in new revenues and $300K annual cost savings by developing online customer satisfaction and referral program.
TMI (Too Much Information)
Many job seekers fall into the belief that the more information they provide, the better their chances of convincing the hiring manager they have the experience for the job. These days that’s not the case. Hiring managers don’t really care much about what you did – they want to know about the results you delivered. Rule of thumb is to describe job duties in a paragraph – 4-5 lines on recent positions and as you go further back in history scale that paragraph down. Follow that brief overview with 2-3 bulleted statements that describe the results you delivered. Keep these statements brief as well – 1-2 lines maximum. Writing concisely takes time and skill!
The length of your resume can be impacted by margin width, font size, and line spacing decisions. Striking an eye-appealing balance of text and white space is important. Try to keep margins at one-half to one inch all around, and depending on the font you select, 10 or 11 point is recommended. One line space between each section and each position is also a good strategy. If you have edited your text as much as possible, but your resume is still falling on three pages, don’t try to cram it onto two pages by using 8 pt. text and quarter-inch margins; a three page resume that is inviting to the reader is preferable to a two-page version that requires a magnifying glass to read the fine print.
FREE to CPGjobs Members: If you’d like a second set of eyes to review your resume, send it over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary assessment!
For more than two decades, Kathy Keshemberg, NCRW, CCMC, and her team at A Career Advantage have been providing professionals with world-class resume consultation and writing, career coaching and personal branding services.
Learn more… www.acareeradvantage.com
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