The hiring world has changed dramatically in the last few years and more changes are coming faster and faster. It’s time to rethink your résumé! If I could, I’d take my Men in Black neuralizer and erase everything you thought you knew about résumés and their role in your job search success.
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New Principle #1: Your job search success does NOT rely on your résumé alone.
In the “old days,” the résumé was everything. Now, it’s just one piece of a much more complex equation. You need to have a good one, but your goal is to use it as a tool and not THE make-or-break cornerstone of your strategy.
New Principle #2: You need to apply to online job postings AND network for each position.
Stop those R.A.A. or Random Acts of Application – spraying your résumé all over the Internet and praying you get a response. Either join millions of others who are doing the same and find themselves as frustrated and depressed as you are OR change your game to dramatically fire up your networking. If you want to avoid those frustrated and depressed millions, your résumé should be part of a bigger “Candidate Packet” so you can tell a better story.
New Principle #3: Your résumé is being read by a robot using algorithms to make go/no-go decisions both on company career sites and on LinkedIn.
Your résumé needs to meet the needs of three main characters in the job search process. First, a recruiter; second, a hiring manager; third, a robot buried in an Applicant Tracking System or ATS. Unfortunately, the “non-person” is often the one who determines which applications real people get to see. So your résumé needs to “talk” to all three, while defaulting to the lowest-common denominator, the robot. And worse, there is no ONE Applicant Tracking System; they are all different.
Now, let’s get to the tactical changes you need to make to your résumé right now:
(NOTE: Applicant Tracking Systems and LinkedIn algorithms are ever-changing so the following guidance is subject to change without notice.)
- Do not put your first page “header” or name, address, etc. in the “header” section of your Word document. Place it in the body of the document. Pages 2 and onward can have your information in the document header.
- No need for your street address, but add your city, state, and zip code, and phone and e-mail address. You can also include your LinkedIn URL.
- Summary sections are good, yet use the word SUMMARY as the sub-head, since that is what the robot recognizes. The ATS is trying to categorize your résumé and put the information correctly into the database.
- Do not use underlines, forward slashes, graphics, pictures, tables, or columns anywhere. Even if you hide the outlines around your table, it messes up the robot’s ability to scan. The vertical slash (found right above the back slash on a standard keyboard) is acceptable.
- Your experience section should be called “Professional Work Experience” so the robot recognizes it.
- Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) look for company names first, then job title.
- Other sections on your résumé should have labels such as “Education,” “Training,” “Certifications,” and “Skills.”
- Optional: For each job, you may provide months and years or just years.
- Optional: You do not have to put the years you graduated from educational institutions.
- Do not try to hide keywords in white letters anywhere on your résumé, including in the footer. This is an old hack and will backfire since the ATS will turn them into black letters.
- Résumés with more keywords score higher. I encourage you to have key words and key phrases in your summary and repeated throughout your various jobs. Just because you said “strong cross-team collaboration” in one position, don’t assume they know you demonstrated that skill in other jobs. Additionally, place your best keyword statements high up within each position.
- If you don’t know what keywords to highlight for the job you’re seeking, research titles and job descriptions:
- Do the proprietary “Window Shopping” exercise in Job Search Master Class®.
- Use O*NET to look up career fields and find keywords (onetonline.com).
- Analyze a group of job descriptions and create a word cloud (wordle.net).
- Jobscan can analyze your resume compared to the job description to increase your ranking within an ATS, thereby increasing your chances of landing an interview.
- Spell out all acronyms the first time and put the acronym in parenthesis following the first use.
- Don’t forget! Now that you have a new résumé, copy and paste your SUMMARY section into your LinkedIn profile and copy and paste your experiences, word-for-word, into your LinkedIn experiences section. Don’t leave out words on LinkedIn since you may be dropping juicy key words that will help recruiters find you through the LinkedIn algorithm! Once you land, you can cut back on your LinkedIn content.
Now that you have the anatomy of a Robo-Résumé that is both effective for human readers as well as robots, I want to give you a FREE ROBO-RESUME TEMPLATE. This template is just one example of the 35 tools and templates included in my Job Search Master Class®. Register today to do so much more than update your resume!
I’m on your team to see success FAST! Contact me to discuss the Job Search Master Class® and private coaching at any time.