On “Project Runway,” Heidi Klum often declares, “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out.” While she’s referring to fashion, the cyclical nature of trends extends to résumés and job-search tactics as well. And if your résumé style is out in 2014, you may well be out, too.
To make sure you’re keeping up with the trends and away from major résumé disasters, check out what’s in and what’s out in 2014.
IN: Keywords that match job descriptions
Many employers use applicant tracking systems to screen résumés and generate a short list of candidates. To ensure that your résumé makes it through the ATS, try “greater research into the position and employer to identify a higher percentage of the employer’s keywords associated with specific positions, then creatively embed them in the application and résumé,” says Hank Boyer, president and CEO of Boyer Management Group and author of the “Job Search Readiness Assessment.”
OUT: Listing your daily tasks as experience
Instead of using valuable space to tell employers about your basic responsibilities at previous jobs, use the section they’re most likely to pay attention to for impressive feats and stand-out accomplishments. Boyer advises including “quantified, employer-focused accomplishments listed in bullet point under each work experience. For example, ‘With team of 12 telemarketers, achieved 131 percent of productivity objectives, with a customer positive rating of 98.2 percent.’”
IN: Creating and using multiple drafts and formats
Just as no two jobs are the same, no two résumés should be the same. Boyer suggests creating multiple drafts and formats for different roles, to make it through different application mediums and screening tools. “[Create] multiple résumés, customized for each position, in both .txt and .doc formats to allow for use in online applications and ATS’s (.txt), and for traditional printed copies and PDF emailing (.doc).”
OUT: Including an objective statement
“Replace the outdated ‘objective statement’ and include a summary of your qualifications at the top of your résumé,” says Carri Nebens, executive hiring manager and owner of Equis Staffing. “This swap offers a more personal look at you and what you could bring to the job. This should be three to five sentences long and should be tailored specifically for the job you are applying for. Be straight to the point, and market yourself as the ideal person for the job. Be compelling and concise, using this section to paint a picture of your characteristics, experience and achievements.”
IN: Pointing employers to your online presence
While you only get so much room on an application or résumé, there’s likely much more you’d like to share with prospective employers. The best way to do this? “Include your LinkedIn URL,” Nebens says. “First, if you haven’t already, you should create a LinkedIn profile, as LinkedIn profile URLs are becoming standard to put on your résumé. A LinkedIn profile will allow prospective employers the opportunity to learn more about your skills and better assess your qualifications. Make sure to fully develop your profile prior to listing your URL and align your résumé’s goal with your profile, so both are telling the same story.”
OUT: “References available upon request”
Similar to the objective statement, including references or “references available upon request” is a waste of valuable résumé real estate and just repeats the obvious. Ellis Chase, president of EJ Chase Consulting Inc. and author of “In Search of the Fun-Forever Job: Career Strategies that Work,” recommends omitting the standard references line. “‘References available upon request’ was great in 1955. Not so much now. What are you going to say — ‘References not available upon request’? Lose it.” Instead, expand other sections that need the space. Chase suggests creating an “Additional relevant information” section, where you can list your skills, languages and technologies that are immediately relevant to the desired targets.