Updating Your Resume: It’s Not Just About Words & Phrases!


Guest post by Donna Sweidan
Fashion is not the only thing that suffers from the ebb and flow of change. There are resume trends too, and the resume of today has a whole new look.

In this upside down job market, the rules & tools of the job search have changed. Of course, that goes for a resume too. For many job seekers thrust into the hunt after a long time of steady employment, these trends are not very clear. That is all too evident from the hundreds of “old-school” resumes I still see. And while an “old school” resume may have worked in the pre-recession economy, don’t expect too much traction with it today, unless you have a unique skill set that is well high-lighted on your document. Some of these resume trends have been around for a while, while others are more recent, very much in response to the challenges of the current marketplace.

The question is, with your resume competing with so many others out there, how are you going to make sure yours stands out?

Whether you’re new to the job market, or you’ve been chiseling away at it for a while, there is nothing straightforward about how to market yourself or about how your resume should look. In fact, the way resumes are written, has completely changed. Here are just three ways, that resumes are so radically different from just 5 or 10 years ago:

1. OUT: Objective IN: Clear and compelling Positioning Statement / Value Proposition/ Job Title

The top ¼ of your resume (on LinkedIn, your professional headline) is prime real estate. I see too many resumes squander the opportunity to catch the attention of the person perusing/ skimming/ eyeballing your document or LinkedIn profile. Telling a recruiter “what you want” by way of the ubiquitous Objective does nothing for your cause and the statement became obsolete at least one recession ago.  A recruiter or HR professional is going to spend approx 5-10 seconds scanning your resume for all the right keywords. Not only do they need to be up front and center, but so does your immediate value proposition.  How will the recruiter be compelled to place your resume over all others onto the “call” pile? It doesn’t matter what you name this top section, what does matter is that it includes ideal job titles you identify with and your value proposition. Going for the old clichéd statements don’t work any more either. This Positioning Statement has to be unique to you, and convey exactly why you are so well suited for the position.

2. OUT: One style fits all IN: A style that’s appropriate to you, your career history, your industry

The days of the traditional and boilerplate chronological resume are no longer. This format does not lend itself to presenting your most valuable skills or experiences in the most convincing or strategic way.  Today, I mix and match various formats and sections to highlight each individual’s attributes, accomplishments and experiences that are relevant to the position they are seeking. While there are many pre-determined sections of a resume, every job seeker does not fit into the same mold, neither should the resume. Even at the senior level, candidates do not need to include everything they have ever done. Follow the “smartphone model”, and make sure you document is clear, concise and catchy. Your essential info must be brief and compelling and readily accessible on a smart phone!

3: OUT: One Dimensional   IN: Multi-Dimensional

Today, the web is your resume!   If you want to be easily found, a recruiter should be able to Google your name and find your story.  With social media tools, you can create a dynamic and branded online message conveying who you are.   Social networks such as Linkedin, VisualCV, or Facebook, not only allow you to outline your experience, but also easily highlight other dimensions of who you are: What you read, how you write, what type of questions you ask, and your level of engagement in online professional communities. If you are proud of a PowerPoint you created, articles your have written, or a blog, it should be up on LinkedIn at the very least. The quality of your recommendations and, in some fields, the extent of your network, go far in aiding you to become a more viable, visible and credible potential candidate. One recruiter calls it the “Social Media Recruitment Test”. Do you pass it?

If your resume isn’t producing the results you need to get you through the doors to your next interview, you need a resume makeover.

Learn how to make your value, skills and purpose shine in a resume that will JUMP off the pile of competitors and say “THIS IS WHAT I CAN DO FOR YOU!”

In this class, you’ll learn how to restructure, rebrand and re-position your resumes.

You’ll learn the tips and tools you need to craft your resume into the dynamic, compelling marketing document you need to represent your best professional self.

Write a powerful resume. Click here to register for Donna’s class.
About the Author:

Instructor, Donna Sweidan, MA, LMHC, MCC is a career coach, LinkedIn expert, resume writer, and licensed counselor. A sought-after trainer and passionate advocate career and job search success, Donna established Careerfolk, LLC to provide a holistic approach to career management. She offers a unique blend of psychological counseling and concrete coaching that takes clients on a journey from soul search to social media.

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