In our fast-paced world, trends are constantly coming and going, whether you’re talking about the latest music, fashion, or toys (I'm lookin’ at you, fidget spinners). And this doesn’t just occur in the realm of pop culture — it also occurs in the job seeking and recruiting space. The things that recruiters and hiring managers look for, and the way that candidates try to get their attention, are ever-evolving. So if you don’t keep up, you might be left behind.
This is especially true when it comes to the single most important document in the job search: your resume. You only get one shot for your resume to make an impression, so you want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of the hottest trends, and staying away from the ones that are better off ignored. But what exactly does that look like today? Here’s what career experts have to say.
Three Trends to Embrace
1.Short and Sweet
If you got into a routine of sprinkling in filler words and flowery language to help you reach a minimum word count in school, now’s the time to kick the habit. Studies show that recruiters only spend between six and seven seconds on your resume — so don’t waste time writing content they won’t read. But keep in mind that if you’re going to cut down the length of your resume, you need to make every word count.
“Shorter resumes are easier to read but they need to get to the point immediately and with powerful, precise language. Unlike the trend a few years ago to tell a story through countless examples of accomplishments, the goal now is to show what you are qualified to do, why, and how the company will benefit,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.
The exact information you should include, as well as the format, may vary depending on your role, so “get feedback from industry and company insiders who can explain what to include on your resume and how to format the content,” Cohen suggests. “When your resume is shorter AND it gets the message across loud and clear, you are essentially punching above your weight. That is always a desirable theme in a job search: The candidate who offers better value.”
One easy way to make sure that your resume stays concise but still packs a punch? Providing hyperlinks to relevant information and resources.
“A hyperlink is the equivalent of CliffsNotes for your resume. You have the freedom to reference a much larger and more significant item and to expand on a key point,” Cohen says. “Brevity is the goal for most resumes. An abbreviated message that can be backed up addresses the needs of both the short attention span reader and the reader who wants to dig deeper into your background and qualifications.”
A couple best practices when including hyperlinks: “Use links appropriately and only to showcase illustrations that support you as a candidate. Make sure that you highlight these links clearly so that the reader of your resume neither ignores or overlooks this valuable information,” Cohen advises.
3. Digital Add-Ons
You might be wondering: Which resources should you be hyperlinking to within your resume?
For starters, you may want to try a video cover letter. “A quick video will capture [recruiters’] attention and leave them learning more about you than they would through those six seconds” spent scanning a resume, Sheth shares. “Applicants should record videos with the intention of showcasing their personality, communication style and why they are the right person for the job.”
Or, “if you are applying to a role where work product is relevant, like in many creative industries, you can create a digital portfolio of your work and include a link to your portfolio so that recruiters can review it,” Sheth says. “This will show you’re prepared, qualified and will leave a lasting impression.”
Two Trends to Avoid
1. Design Over Functionality
Sure, an eye-popping resume can look good on paper. But if you get too caught up with making a visually appealing resume, you might prevent your resume from ever getting in the hands of a recruiter.
“One of the newest resume trends is using Etsy-styled templates that have a lot of columns and graphic design,” says Resume Writer & Career Transition Coach Wendi Weiner.
But while “this approach shows off your creative ability and eye for design… it likely won’t make it past an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which many companies use as a screening method to weed out resumes that don’t meet specific on-page standards (think keywords, industry buzzwords, and conventional headlines),” shares Zachary Painter, Career Adviser and Hiring Manager at ResumeGenius.com.
To get around this, “stick to a sophisticated yet professional template that enables your headlines to stand out — a reader's eyes naturally gaze at the center of the page., so make sure your headlines are centered in the middle of the page for easy reading. Consider also having a line underneath the headline title (professional experience, education, core skills, etc.) so that the sections of your resume are separated,” Weiner suggests.
On the other hand, if you’re applying for a position in a highly visual field where creative resumes are a boon, take advantage of those hyperlinks again by “providing a link to your portfolio in your online application and on your printed out, physical resume. This will satisfy ATS bots and land safely in the hands of a hiring manager or department head,” Painter says.
2. Skill-Points Systems
It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers love when you can quantify your success — but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
“Over the years, the term ‘quantification’ — as it applies to resumes — has gotten taken out of context. Basically, applicants think it’s smart to rate their additional skills on a resume by ranking each skill with a number ranging from one to ten,” Painter says. (E.g. Photoshop: 7/10, Microsoft Word: 4/10, Excel: 8/10).
But the problem is that quantifying your skillset is vague and arbitrary — and too many applicants are tempted to give themselves top marks for everything. If you rate every skill as a nine or 10 out of 10, recruiters and hiring managers will probably be skeptical.
“The best solution is to mention that you have experience or familiarity in the additional skills you provide. Go for something like this:
- Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite
- Familiar with WordPress
This communicates better than a vague ‘skills point system’, and hiring managers will appreciate it more,” Painter says.