Did you know that September is International Update Your Resume Month? Launched by Career Directors International in 2000, this month marks the perfect time to revisit your resume and see if it’s up to par with what today’s recruiters and employers are looking for. If you haven’t updated your resume in a few years, the likelihood is that it’s a bit behind current standards. Even if you’re not looking for a new job right now, having a ready-to-go resume in your arsenal is helpful should that great opportunity present itself.
The Crux of a Great Resume: Accomplishments
The standard resume format most job seekers use focuses on skills or responsibilities in each role. These types of resumes generally consist of a lot of bullet points with those skills and tasks listed. Unfortunately, a “death by bullets” approach does little to market you to a future employer.
While what you did at each role is still an important part of your resume in 2021, skills are not the primary components you want to highlight on your resume. These days, your best bet it to focus on your accomplishments and how you’ve added value at your positions.
To craft great accomplishments that pack a punch, use this formula:
Challenge … Action … Result
In other words, there was a challenge you faced, an action you took to overcome that challenge, and then a result that came out of that action.
In most instances, accomplishments fall into one of four categories:
- You made the company or client money.
- You saved the company or client money.
- You made stakeholders happy.
- You developed or improved processes and procedures.
In your resume, aim to list one bulleted accomplishment per year, and don’t exceed five bullet points per position.
Update Your Resume with Your Value Proposition
While accomplishments display ways you’ve helped companies succeed in the past, there’s another place you should do that: in your summary.
If you have an older resume, you probably have an objective at the top of it. Objectives are common in a skills-based resume format and are obsolete when it comes to differentiating yourself. Therefore, if you have an objective, it’s definitely time to update your resume to today’s standards!
In lieu of an objective, add a title or headline that states the position you’re seeking. Just below that, create a summary, where you’ll answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Focus on the key skills that only you can bring to the position, as opposed to your personality traits. How have you added value to other companies in the past? What kind of leader are you? What are the results you can deliver? Overall, you want to share how your particular experience directly translates to the requirements for this job.
A summary is often referred to as a branding statement because its goal is to brand you to an employer. Therefore, you really need to sell yourself here. After all, this is the first thing employers will read!
Here’s an example of a great summary:
A unique and insightful powerhouse who offers a proven record of success across commercial operations, strategy, global marketing, and research. Driven by data to bring an innovative perspective with an eye toward creating and delivering new growth opportunities. Extensive experience leading large, complex projects and in bringing cross-functional teams together as an engaging and supportive coach.
Ensure Your Resume Is ATS Friendly
No matter how fantastic the content on your resume is, if it doesn’t make it through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), it won’t be seen. A key component to updating your resume is to create content that works with the ATS software most employers use. That means it has to have:
- Contact information, including the city, state you’d like to work in, your phone number, email address, and any online portfolios or accounts that you’d like to highlight (a custom LinkedIn URL is a great addition).
- Relevant keywords that match the job description.
- A simple reverse-chronological layout without text boxes, lines, shapes, or columns.
- One color (black) and one font (Calibri, Arial, or Helvetica are best).
- No more than two pages.
- No photos or icons.
Avoid filling your resume with keywords in white font. It’s bad form and could potentially eliminate you from consideration.
Career Coaching and Resume Writing Are Coming to Blue Signal
As a recognized, premier recruiting firm, Blue Signal is excited to announce the launch of a new component to our business designed to help job seekers. We will provide users with the education and tools needed to advocate for themselves in today’s job market.