If you’re planning on testing the job market in 2018, you should know that 2017 was rife with shake-ups that might mean you need to update your approach—and your resume.
A retail apocalypse saw many employers shuttering their brick and mortar stores and leveling up their digital operations, the tech players continued to focus on AI and machine learning, and customer service skills were increasingly prioritized even by those hiring for roles not traditionally customer service-centric.
In light of all this change, we asked several top recruiters their resume writing tips for 2018 and how they recommend jobseekers use them to truly impress hiring leaders. We also asked whether they thought recent job market trends have changed the rules of the game.
Their advice for 2018 jobseekers wanting to upgrade to the best resume skills: be precise, be visible, be digital.
1. Be precise – resume writing tip #1
The one trend recruiters said is affecting the job market more than anything else is low unemployment. According to employers, good candidates for just about anything are in short supply, and it’s common for companies to fill positions with candidates who are already working.
But a tight job market doesn’t mean employers aren’t still receiving a lot of resumes, or will take anyone. What it means is that with fewer good candidates to choose from it is much harder to find the right match. Not to mention, recruiters constantly tell us that the standard for a right match is getting much higher.
That means that the burden is squarely on the jobseeker to demonstrate the right match. That’s why the number one resume writing tip for 2018 is to be precise.
In short, even though it takes extra time, be sure you are choosing high-quality opportunities and tailoring your resume to the particular role and company.
Resumes can no longer afford to waste a single word on anything that does not address the specific needs of the hiring organization. For example, if you are applying for a manager role, talk about the manager things you’ve done. All your prior experience must be translated into results: What did you accomplish? Why is it relevant to this specific opportunity in this specific organization?
Customizing your resume is still one of the best resume writing tips. But in 2018, jobseekers need to get more precise about how and when they customize.
Recruiters are looking for candidates who have done their homework about that company. They will pursue those who could come into an interview situation ready to give detailed answers to questions like, “What would you recommend in this situation?” And, they are more likely to take a chance on a candidate whose background intrigues them.
Finally, always include a cover letter that spells out the value you bring to that organization. Furthermore, make sure there are absolutely no grammar, spelling, or formatting mistakes. Every recruiter we spoke with said those were immediate deal breakers. Though occasionally they might allow an unusually good candidate to correct and resubmit.
2. Be visible – resume writing tip #2
In other words, you need to stand out in every way possible, both on the job market and with your resume.
Every recruiter told us they routinely use LinkedIn to scan the job market and look at candidates. But they also told us LinkedIn profiles lack the specificity, depth, and narrative that resumes have.
Their advice: Use your LinkedIn profile as a virtual resume along with your traditional version and mark yourself as ‘open to opportunities’ … this allows recruiters who are looking for someone with your background to identify and contact you.
Along with being visible, it is important to be visual. You can stand out from other applicants by highlighting the skills you have that an employer specifically needs. But make sure everything you do highlight on your resume can be easily seen. The most important points should always appear front and center on the page (and on the first page of your resume template if your resume is multiple pages).
3. Be digital – resume writing tip #3
Much more business gets conducted online than even a year ago. It continues to disrupt the ways work is organized and how it gets done. Entirely new sets of technologies have created the massive online environment where we spend most of our waking day.
Digital skills help us operate in that space.
project / product management,
web design and development,
But don’t neglect to include those that are relevant to your role or industry, such as basic word processing software, CMS, LMS, spreadsheets, issue tracking, or workflow management.
Nearly every recruiter we spoke with also mentioned three soft skills that stand out:
being a team-player
Many digital skills can also be used on the job search. Applying them effectively to job search activities is one of the best resume writing tips for 2018.
As one recruiter told us, “Having a great resume is the price of admission, but also having a digital portfolio, a strong professional online presence and content you’ve developed is what takes you to the next level.”