September 30th, 2020
Creating a modernized resume is imperative to breaking through hiring barriers. The right resume is clean, succinct, and provides the exact information that an employer needs to move forward.
Call to Action
Your name and contact information are your call to action. They are the first elements of a resume that a potential employer sees. It must be immediately clear to the resume reader how they contact you. Even the best resume will be thrown into a pile if it is not easy to decipher your whereabouts.
- Emphasize your name clearly
- Include your telephone number and denote the type of phone (cell, office, home)
- Do not provide your specific street address. Instead include your city / state or metropolitan region
- Use a modern, professional email address with a simple extension, like gmail.com. If necessary, create an email address for job searching purposes.
- Include your personalized LinkedIn URL. If you have not personalized this link, learn how, here.
Avoid redundancy and save space on your resume by eliminating the summary of experience. Instead, provide a clear objective that a future employer can grasp: What do you want? What are you looking for? Is it a new industry, technology, job title, job function, etc.?
Your experience already paints a picture of your past and present, but it doesn’t tell an employer about your goals and needs for the future. Defining your objectives turns a snapshot into an on-going story.
Let Your Experience Speak for Itself
Your experience and skills set are the most important parts of your resume. Unless you are targeting a creative position where artistic design is a critical element of your presentation, keep your resume simple and clean.
Muted hues like grays or blues provide a pop of color without distracting from the important information. Keep your organization simple, easy-to-read, and in logical order. Layouts should work universally with standard file types that most companies require for upload – PDF & Word documents.
Keep your resume to one page. Find impactful words that pinpoint your experience and avoid explanations. Instead, build a meaningful story that lends itself to interest and inquiry from future employers.
Your base resume should allow for modifications that meet the expectations set out by employers. It is OK to tailor your resume and try different avenues to make your resume stand out. If something isn’t working, make a change or A/B test your resumes.
Consider adding a headshot to help an employer place a face with a name. But be mindful of any blind-hiring policies or applicant ingestion systems that do not accept embedded images.
Stay Up to Date
Before distributing your resume, ensure that you any links you are including are updated. Your portfolio, GitHub, personal webpages, and LinkedIn pages should be robust and up-to-date.
Just as you research potential employers and individual hiring managers, you must assume that they are also digging into the entire picture of your experience. This is also a great time to update, hide, or eliminate social profiles that a prospective employer are able to access.
The References Page
Requests for references should absolutely be expected in technology-based positions. Prepare your references in a separate document. This can be done prior to starting your job search and even before you set up your resume.
Your references are a source of knowledge and know you well. They may remember specific events, projects, or successes that you haven’t considered. Additionally, they are a great networking source when you start your search.
Your reference page should Include updated contact information, preferred names, title, and the capacity in which they know you.
And, of course, give your reference a heads up if you think you are moving into the stage where they will be contacted.
Before & After
Re-writing a resume can feel like a tedious process. But it is an evolution as you mature and grow professionally. When you have finished your new resume, look back and compare where you are now versus where have been. You should see that evolution and maturity in your resume.
If you are looking for resources to help craft your resume, consider using tools like Google Resume Templates, LinkedIn Resume Assistant or Canva.
If you have a Google account, you have access to Google’s library of templates. Sign into your Google account and navigate to the templates to access resumes, cover letters, and more in your Google Drive.
Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn helped the two join forces to bring better resume templates and a resume assistant to Microsoft Word. If you are an Office 365 subscriber on Windows, customized templates and resume writing help are at your fingertips. Check out LinkedIn’s Blog or get started in Word by opening a new document and choosing a resume template.
If you’re looking for a template to give you more creative license, sign up for a free account on Canva and get started with more free templates. Or, sign up for the pro-version to get custom-tailored designs.