If you’ve been applying to job after job without hearing back, you’re not alone.
The average job seeker needs to send out between 100 and 200 resumes before landing a position. Corporate jobs are even more competitive, with each opening receiving around 250 applications.
If you’re not hearing back after submitting applications, you may not know how to turn your luck around. The first place to look is your resume.
If you’re using outdated resume techniques, you may be getting screened out before a person even looks at your application materials. This is because a significant percentage of companies use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to sort through materials.
“Applicant tracking systems sort, scan, and rank applicants by looking for keywords in applications. Although these programs can save time and money for employers, about 60% said such tools cause them to miss some qualified candidates,” explains WSJ‘s Allison Pohle.
So, if you haven’t modernized your resume since applying for your last jobs, here are the latest resume techniques to help you beat the ATS and impress the hiring team.
✅ Your resume should detail your standout achievements, not your job responsibilities.
Many people consider a resume a list of the tasks you completed in your past positions.
But this isn’t the case. If your resume looks exactly the same as someone else’s who held the same responsibilities as you did, you’re doing something incorrectly.
That’s because a resume should focus on your accomplishments, not your responsibilities.
So, modify your responsibility bullets to be accomplishment-focused using the STAR method.
STAR stands for:
- Situation – what context is necessary to understand your accomplishment?
- Task – what was the problem you set out to solve?
- Action – what did you do to remedy this problem?
- Results – what happened as a result of your action? The more quantifiable, the better.
For instance, your updated bullet might look something like this:
- Trained and mentored 18 interns by developing an onboarding program and coordinating daily check-ins.
✅ Keep your resume short and focused.
If you’ve had a long career, you might be tempted to write about every job you’ve ever held, including the roles you held right out of college.
But you should conceive of the resume as a short and sweet document that hiring managers peruse before deciding if they want to invite you for an interview.
So, it should only be one-page maximum (unless you have a reason to make it longer) and should only include 10 to 15 years of your professional life.
✅ Create a summary at the top of your resume and support it with examples.
Gone are the days when you would write an objective statement describing what you hope to get from a job.
Instead, you want to write a summary statement – a short two-to-three-sentence paragraph describing your background and the professional future you envision for yourself.
“Goal-driven, award-winning account manager with repeated success generating company-leading revenues on a nationwide scale. Offer a record of multimillion-dollar revenue generation, #1 sales distinction, and quota-surpassing results in selling complex mortgage and commercial-lending products.”
While writing a summary statement is important (and difficult), it’s even more important to back up your claims with the rest of your resume.
“Make sure the rest of your resume supports your summary…If you include in your summary that you have been a consistent top seller for your region, you should include specific examples in the body of your resume to reinforce this statement,” suggests GCFGlobal.
✅ Customize your resume for each application you apply for.
Are you taking a one-size-fits-all approach to your resume?
If so, you might be committing one of the greatest sins in the resume world: failing to modify your document for every job application you submit.
To do this, you want to look at each job posting and identify the experience and skills the company cares most about. Then, you want to write your resume using these keywords exactly. Yes, exactly, meaning that you should incorporate those specific words even if you have similar ones already in your document.
Where should you incorporate these keywords and phrases?
“In addition to the ‘work experience’ and ‘skills’ section of your resume, you should also include keywords in your cover letter and resume summary. That said, make sure you only use keywords and phrases when they make sense rather than repeatedly or forcibly. Indiscriminate keyword stuffing can lead some systems to avoid your resume,” Coursera advised.
Using the Latest Resume Techniques to Update Your Application Materials
If you’re applying for a job, you should assume that an ATS will read your resume before it makes it to a person.
In fact, 98.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS or recruiting management system (RMS) to screen for only qualified candidates.
At the same time, you want to make sure your resume is persuasive when a person does read it. So, using the latest resume techniques, like the STAR method, customization, and keyword matching, ensures that your resume will advance you to the interview round.
Something that can be daunting for mid and late-career professionals is winnowing down their experience to 10 to 15 years for a resume.
In this webinar, hear from Executive Resume Writers Staci Collins and Renita Kalhorn about how to turn a long career into a short resume.