Your resume is a first impression of who you are as a professional and a potential teammate, and the pressure around getting it right is understandable. It’s ok to feel intimidated by a world that so heavily prioritizes having a broad network and outstanding professional achievement. Whether it’s freelance, in-house, full-time, part-time, management, or even if you’re not a designer, here are some tips on how to put your best foot forward on “paper.”
Keep it Relevant
Having a couple of versions of your resume tailored to different companies or positions can give you an edge over your competition. Companies need to know what you bring to their vision, projects, and roles. Wildly unrelated skills and experiences detract from how you might be the best fit. For example, if you are applying for a web design position, you will want to front-load skills and experiences that speak to that style of work instead of overly relying on print experiences. Do your research on the companies you are applying to and try to speak to their particular roles and company culture.
Get Familiar with Applicant Tracking Software
In the age of online job boards and networking websites, not only is the application process faster and more accessible than ever before—it’s also smarter. You may have the qualifications, but how do you make sure they’re seen? Familiarize yourself with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) such as Greenhouse, Taleo, Workday, and iCIMS. These systems provide companies with an automated solution to filter and sort applicants who best match job-specific keywords.
There is no one way to master these systems, but one way to learn a bit about how they function is to put out some applications through Indeed or LinkedIn. They have their own built-in applicant-matching systems that will give you a better idea of what keywords and phrases that might be favored by ATS platforms. Carefully read job descriptions and reflect relevant keywords in your resume and cover letter; watch for changes in the updates on how many companies are noticing your application and don’t be afraid to continue to make changes to test effectiveness.
Don’t forget to make sure you have your profile fully filled out and in this case list all apps/skills so you aren’t counted out because you didn’t list keywords such as Excel or Keynote! They won’t know what you don’t show. In some cases it might be helpful to sign up for a paid service such as LinkedIn Premium because it gives users more access to companies and connections.
Make it an Easy Read
A resume should be easy to read and quickly answer any questions a hiring manager might have. While it is important to stand out, do not do so at the expense of clear communication. Who are you? What relevant skills and experience do you have? Remember to have your name and contact information right up top in a bold and clear way. Consider a couple of short, digestible sentences about your work experience and philosophy. Clearly indicate your qualifications and areas of expertise. Start with the most recent and most relevant experiences. You can mention your involvement in organizations like AIGA, or other volunteer work that reflect your passion. Showing that you stay engaged, especially when there are gaps in your resume, says a lot about what you bring to a team.
Consider these tips when refreshing your resume for your next job search. Keep a few versions and continue to update and adapt them as you develop your experience and learn new skills. Don’t wait for it to become an overwhelming and overly stressful task.
2020 has been an unprecedented year and we are seeing businesses pivot and reinvent themselves in response to it. Use this opportunity to do the same and reflect it clearly on your resume. You don’t have to do it alone, join AIGA CT and certified Professional Resume Writer, Kristina Galligan, Wednesday, September 2 for a virtual Resume Building Workshop! It will include a working session after the presentation and optional one-on-one resume reviews.
Learn more about the event here!