Resumes are in many ways a living document, both from a professional and individual sense. The professional world has demanded more of resumes and what characteristics it emphasizes, while the individual should consistently update their information to keep up with the times. In an always competitive job market, here are six ways resumes have changed over the years.
1. Achievement Over Responsibility
Employers want to know why you stand out. Many people have similar job titles and responsibilities, so it is hard to impress solely on presenting that information.
How you used that previous role to achieve success and being able to clearly illustrate that success are two major keys to a great resume.
If your department helped your company increase revenues by 20%, write that. If you implemented new initiatives, describe them and how they benefitted your organization. Maybe you were recognized with an industry award: include that.
Achievement shows employers you are worth hiring.
2. Cover Letter
Though a cover letter remains an important piece of the puzzle, the way they are presented has changed.
Rather than a printed document, cover letters have essentially become cover emails. When sending a resume via an attachment, use the body of the note as a platform to present your cover letter.
Note: Customize your cover letter based on the job you are applying for. Include the company’s address like you would for a mailed letter. Address the letter to a specific individual (not sir or madam). If you don’t know exactly who to send it to, do some research to find out. Include the name of the position and the company name you are applying to.
Presentation is key. Employers want to see that you took the time to research the position you are seeking and aren’t just sending a resume blindly.
3. Public Access
The days of keeping your resume on a “need to know” basis are gone. Websites like LinkedIn not only promote posting your resume on social media, they make it acceptable to best present yourself every day, even if you’re not looking for a job.
You never know whose eye you will catch, so update as frequently as possible.
4. Avoid Hobbies and Personal Information
Although you may think certain hobbies help define your character, do not include them.
Employers are also not allowed to ask personal questions such as religion and marital status, so that information is not relevant to the job-seeking process. Keep your resume professional.
5. Don’t Limit Your Resume
The “one page only” resume rule is gone. Rules vary depending on the job field, but generally a resume can be two or more pages if the content justifies it.
Also, depending on the field, a resume may not be enough.
For example, a TV news reporter should have a link or file of a reel that is available. A graphic designer should show potential employers of what they are capable of creating.
Having a portfolio to boost your profile in these situations is essential.
6. Use Keywords
The digital age means applying for jobs online is the norm. It also means employers have software designed at narrowing down applicants based on words they use in their resume.
Use relevant keywords specific to the job you are applying for.