Resume Writing in Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill
When re-entering the job market, it’s always a good idea to make sure your resume is up to date. So much has changed with resume writing throughout the years; it’s not a bad idea to consider working with a professional resume writer to ensure your resume meets todays industry standards. Employers no longer go through resumes one by one to select candidates. Now employers rely on applicant tracking systems which are software tools to select the viable candidates to consider.
Resume Writing: Preparing for the Software
You may be wondering what is an applicant tracking system and how does this work? Imagine this- when you apply online for a job, your resume goes through the applicant tracking software. The software then scans your resume to decide if it has the appropriate keywords from the job description to which you are applying. Based upon this and some other factors it then ranks your resume telling the hiring manager who they should call back and consider for an interview.
Historically when the systems were first created applicants thought they could trick the software by highlighting the entire job description in white font and pasting it on their resume. Eventually the creators of the software caught on to this and knew the resumes were not truly created from scratch. Now applicant tracking systems can identify if a resume is key worded stuffed and it will red flag and dismiss this resume. Its important to walk a fine line between including keywords but not trying to copy and paste the entire job description. There is some work that has to be done! In addition to keywords its very important to consider other issues that could prevent your resume from passing through the applicant tracking system such as logos, pictures and too many lines. A good key point to remember when preparing your resume for an online application is less is best. You don’t want too much going on in the resume or it can potentially make your resume go into the black hole.
Resume Writing Tips
I’m always asked, “what are some general resume writing tips?”
For those looking to write their own resume, making sure your resume is applicant tracking system friendly its essential as well as making sure your brand is conveyed in the resume.
If you are a creative person applying for a creative job, it would be a great idea to use some color to convey a bit of your unique personality.
Furthermore, you want a format that is easy to read, organized, and user friendly. Make it easy on the hiring managers eyes. They are reviewing hundreds of other qualified candidates, so they shouldn’t have to search for what qualifies you.
You should also consider how you can grab their attention in nine seconds or less because that is the amount of time the average employer spends looking at your resume.
Next, put some thought into your font and choose one that is easy to read. Do not use a font smaller than a size 11 you do not want your reader to have to struggle to read.
Also ensure that your resume conveys the message you want to send about who you are. I would never use a bubbly comic book font to send the message that I’m a serious applicant for an accounting job. Make sure your font style fits your brand and industry. Remember you have a small window of time to sell yourself as the person for the job. Make it count.
In addition, consistency in formatting is so important. With that in mind make sure to write your dates on your resume using numbers instead of words. Each month has a varying number of letters in them. This can leave the alignment of your resume off. However, if you use numbers two digits for the month, and two digits for the year you never have to worry about the alignment being off with your dates.
3 Resume Writing Myths
• You need an objective in your resume. This is such an old school way of looking at resume writing, and it is very outdated. Companies no longer care about what you want, but are more focused on reading who you are and what you have to offer. That is why including a professional highlight paragraph is so important.
• Your resume must be one page. This is also not true. Having a resume that sells you for the job is much more important. Now if you are a recent college graduate it is very likely that you do not have a lot of experience and that you need a one-page resume. I do not suggest filling a resume with content just to make it reach a page limit. People at different levels will have different needs. If you are an executive with 20 years of experience you will likely need a resume that is 2 pages. Still, I have seen some people adamant about fitting everything into one page. The general rule of thumb is anything over 10 plus years of experience can go into a two-page resume. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if the last 3 years of your work experience is irrelevant and doesn’t sell you for the job, you can opt to leave this out and it may make your resume one page. The bottom line is to make sure you are not someone with little experience creating a two-page resume or someone with many years of experience attempting to cram everything into one page when it’s not necessary.
• The last myth about resume writing I want to address is that you need to include your references on the bottom of the resume. This is also a very outdated way of writing a resume. If an employer wants your references, they will ask for them and there is no need wasting space writing references available upon request or listing your references contact information. I do recommend keeping a list of references handy and calling them ahead of time to let them know you are in the job search process and someone may be contacting them.
Hiring a Resume Writer
Now that you know some key factors to have within your resume. It is important that you know what to look for when considering hiring a resume writer. There are several people who write resumes however not everyone has credentials. You should find out if your resume writer is certified by a professional association. The association has standards and they test the writer to make sure they can write and are up to date with todays best practices for resume writing. In addition, you should find out if the resume writer has any experience working with recruiters and hiring managers. This can help advise you on key things recruiters and employers look for. It would be wise to review testimonials from the resume writers’ past clients and to ask what places their clients have landed jobs.
Other than determining if the writer is qualified, figure out if you make a connection with them. Do they seem trustworthy, engaging and someone who can bring your vision alive? It’s important to work with someone you like and feel like you can trust. You will know if you make the right connection with the resume writer through a free phone consultation. This call will give you a feel for their style and the type of results they can bring about. When you work with the resume writer be open to their ideas. They might have a different vision for your resume and its okay to lean on their expertise. Remember you chose them for a reason.