7 Changes To Make to Your Resume This Year
1. Use Simple Formatting
Most companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to collect and scan resumes. And though that doesn’t mean a human will never see your resume, to ensure the ATS doesn’t have a hard time reading yours, use simple formatting.
ATSs have difficulty parsing certain fonts and visual elements. While using them doesn’t mean your resume will automatically end in the “no, thanks” pile, there is a chance that your qualifications will be overlooked, making it less likely that you’ll get an interview.
To give your resume the best chance of being correctly parsed, use simple formatting, like:
- A sans-serif font that’s easier to read and scan
- Consistent margins (one inch all around is best, but you can take it to .75 if you need to)
- Consistent line spacing (1.5 is usually the best because it’s not as cramped)
- Don’t include charts, graphs, or other visual elements
As a bonus, even if the company doesn’t use an ATS, a simple format is easier for a human to read too!
2. Make It Scannable
Another change to make to your resume this year is to make it scannable. This means it is not only easy to scan by an ATS but also by a human. You never know when a recruiter will read your resume on a mobile device, and a scannable resume is much easier on the eyes.
For example, you want to use white space and avoid long blocks of texts. You’ll also want to use bullet points that start with action verbs and include headers so it’s easy for the reader to find whatever they’re looking for, like experience or education. Finally, make sure your font is no smaller than 11 pt.
- Here’s the same information, formatted to be more scannable:
- Make use of white space and avoid long blocks of text
- Use bullet points that start with action verbs
- Include clear headers so it’s easy for the reader to find whatever they’re looking for (experience, education, etc.)
- Use a font that’s no smaller than 11 pt.
3. Include Live Links
In general, your resume should only be one to two pages long. That said, if you have an extensive work history, it might be hard to squeeze everything you want an employer to know about your career into your resume.
To help showcase your skills, add live links to your personal website, LinkedIn profile, and social media profiles (where appropriate) on your resume.
These can act as an extended resume to demonstrate why the employer should hire you. Work samples, testimonials, and even recommendations all go a long way toward enhancing your application.
Be aware, though, that not all ATSs accept live links, and you may need to include the address as part of your submission.
4. Name It
What’s in a name? A lot, especially when you’re applying for a job.
Instead of using a generic file name, like “resume” or “my resume,” change the file name of your resume to “First Name Last Name – Resume” to make it easier for a recruiter to find you.
Some positions receive hundreds of applications, and if you’re selected for an interview, you’re likely not the only person the recruiter is meeting with. Using your name as part of the file name makes it easier to search a database or email for your resume when they need to reference it.
5. Have Multiple Versions
Just like you’ll customize your resume for every job you’ll apply to, you want to have different versions of it ready to go. Common file formats accepted by ATSs are:
Double-check the requirements before uploading your resume to the ATS. Some systems have different requirements, and sometimes there are special instructions about resume formats in the job posting.
And having several versions ready to go means that when you’re networking or a recruiter reaches out, you can send your resume over as soon as possible instead of spending time reformatting and converting it.
6. Use Numbers, Not Words
A small change you can make to your resume this year is to use numbers and symbols instead of words. While it is grammatically correct to spell out numbers less than ten, spelling them out takes up precious space on your resume.
For example, if your bullet point is:
Led eight team members and increased overall sales by five percent per year
You could lose a whole line to a single word. That’s space you could use for an additional bullet point. Instead, write:
Led 8 team members and increased overall sales by 5% per year
You’ll bring that one word up and gain a whole line for another bullet point!
7. Quantify Your Work
Finally, you might have loads of experience and be perfect for the role, but to really help the employer understand why they should hire you, make sure you quantify your work.
Give specific, concrete examples of what you’ve accomplished in your current or past roles. How much money did you save an employer? How many sales did you close? How many customers did you support?
Results mean everything to an employer and help them better understand not just why you’re the right person for the role but what you will accomplish while you’re working for them.
Time for a Change
Just like fashion, what’s in and out on resumes changes. Keeping up to date on new technologies or new rules about “what works” for resumes can help your resume stay in fashion and stand out whenever you need it.
And if you want some personalized advice on your resume, consider meeting with a FlexJobs career coach. Our in-house professionals know what’s in and out on resumes and can help you make the changes that will make your resume pop!
Schedule your appointment today!