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Resume Writing Tips for a Technology-Savvy World

Tips for Writing Your Resume That Works


Businesswoman sitting at desk in high tech startup office working on computer
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Today's harsh economic realities have forced many longtime employees into the job market again, dusting off resumes for the first time in years. As thousands of these new candidates vie for a dwindling number of positions, recruiters are increasingly turning to talent management technology to help narrow the applicant pool and find the best candidates for open positions.

In this competitive job-seeking environment, applicants need to make sure that now more than ever, their resumes stand out from the pack and they are using every outlet available to them including social networks.

Some resume writing tips are as valuable today as they were 20 years ago: writing concisely, proofreading to avoid typos and errors, using active verbs to tout your skills and accomplishments. But new recruiting methods have added another layer of critical tips that job seekers should use when updating their resume.

Customize Your Resume for each Job Opening

If you are not customizing your resume to each job opening, you are missing the perfect opportunity to ensure that your resume will land in the hands of the right recruiter. My company provides talent management software for more than 1,000 top employers across the globe and I can tell you with certainty that these days, most resumes are processed by recruiting management software that helps employers find the perfect candidates for their job openings.

This means it is vital that in today's job market that every resume include similar keywords that appear in targeted job descriptions, increasing the chances that a candidate will be found highly compatible with an open position.

Make sure that these keywords reference specific job requirements: mention specific skill sets, software and technology competencies, previous employers, and relevant credentials.

Prioritize Information

Prioritize content so that your most important and relevant experience is listed first, with key accomplishments listed at the top. Job seekers often mistakenly list important data in the lower sections of their job descriptions. As you compile statements for your resume, prioritize them by importance, noteworthiness and relevance to the job.

Include a concise mission statement about yourself and the type of position you seek near the top of your resume that is matched to your targeted position and goes beyond generic phrases such as "seeking challenging job in a fun yet hard-working environment." Recruiters look at many resumes every day and yours needs to stand out in a professional, no-nonsense way that shows you have taken the time and interest to pursue a specific opening.

Keep it Simple

Use a simple resume format for all of your online submissions. When designing the format, make sure to keep the design simple, with ample white space and no images or pictures. Many applicant tracking systems work best with text and your resume should be designed accordingly. Use a basic 12-point font to ensure readability; common fonts like Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman are usually a good choice.

Double-check that there are no errors when you are required to manually re-enter data from your resume into automated online systems. Avoid bold, italics and underlined words.

Avoid Time Gaps

Make sure if you have time gaps in employment, you address them in your resume. Time gaps are often flagged as a concern by recruiters and technology. Some experts suggest to list only years of employment to cover up employment gaps, such as 2007-2009, but today's intelligent recruiting management systems will typically flag this type of "trick."

Job candidates are better off explaining employment gaps: taking on independent consulting or freelancing positions, taking time off to have a child, or taking a "family sabbatical" alongside the relevant dates. If a candidate took classes or went back to school, list the appropriate information in the education section.

Go Social

Employers are increasingly looking in many different online places for talent, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites. Make sure when you are in the market for a new job you use all of your online profiles to help position yourself as an ideal job candidate.

Networking can be surprisingly fruitful on these types of sites, so whenever appropriate, make reference to previous employers, job titles, dates of employment and responsibilities. Let your connections know you are looking for a new job so you can get a jump on new opportunities. And always make sure there is nothing on your public profiles that you wouldn't want a potential employer to come across.

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