With the advent of social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s easy to think that a resume has become a bit of a dinosaur. After, all employers can find all the details they need to know about you with a few clicks of a mouse, right? Well, yes and no.
While it is true that employers are reviewing social media accounts of potential employees more and more — 37 percent them, in fact, according to a recent study by CareerBuilder — a strong resume is still your best ticket to an interview.
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Tips to improve your resume
Gone are the days when working on your resume just meant picking a font style or deciding whether or not to use bullet points or not, however. Today’s successful resumes use a combination of digital know-how, research, and just plain moxy. If your résumé is in need of a 2013 make-over, here are five steps you can take to help get it at the top of a recruiter’s list.
1. Integrate keywords
Did you know your resume may not even get a first glance if you don’t use keywords properly? Many Human Resources (HR) personnel and recruiters now have software programs that scan resumes for relevant keywords for that position.
Read over the job description carefully to find the words you need to include.
For example, if the job description mentions that computer skills are required, work in the names of the computer programs you know into the statements on your resume. Look for ways to use those keywords under headings, such as communication skills or computer skills.
Do a little homework by studying the company’s website and examining any LinkedIn profiles with the job title you are seeking. Decide what keywords are the most important words to use and then integrate them into your resume.
2. Use social media profiles
Let’s go back to the social media component now. Since you know recruiters will look for you on LinkedIn and Facebook, why not make it easy for them? Put your social media IDs on your resume.
Before you do, however, make sure your profiles are employer-friendly and professional. Do they show your accomplishments in the best light? If not, invest some time in them.
Remember you can control what’s out there. Highlight volunteer projects in which you are involved. Share links and photos to team projects or special events. It may seem needless to say, but keep your social media accounts professional. When you have job applications out to potential employers, this is not the time to boast about your latest drunken escapade or to post unflattering photos of yourself.
3. Add hyperlinks and formatting
Make every effort to e-mail your resume to a specific person rather than to a group account. Not only will you have a better chance of it being read, but you can add details such as hyperlinks to your work on the web. (A database might read the hyperlinks as spam.) Using hyperlinks to your work gives the employer easy access to more information about the kind of work you can do and shows you know your way around the web. If you are making a paper copy to bring to your interview, you can simply remove the links.
Have your digital resume in a format that is easy to upload, download, or scan by leaving out the bullets, boxes, boldface, unusual fonts, and indentation. You can always put them into your hard copy.
Although the tried and true format for resumes of the past has been chronological, consider whether this is the best format for you. If your last job or two were not the best to highlight your experience for this prospective employer, or if you have hopped from job to job in recent years, a functional resume might be the best choice.
With a functional resume, you can focus on your skills rather than on your work experience. For example, you could list a job skill – say, personnel management or customer service – and then follow with the different accomplishments you have that reveal your expertise in this skill.
Another option is a combination resume, which, as the name implies, is a combination of the elements of a chronological and a functional resume. With a combination resume, you can emphasize your skills while listing a solid work background.
4. Enhance your experience
A resume is the time to let your pertinent experience – whether it is from a paid position or a volunteer one — shine. Don’t sell yourself short.
While paid employment is significant, don’t neglect volunteer work, internships, college classes, seminars, workshops and any other relevant tasks you have done that are related to the job application. By the same token, don’t forget to use people you have worked with in these endeavors as references.
Keep your experience, your portfolio and links up to date. Of the 8,038 employers surveyed by CareerBuilder in a recent study, 50 percent reported that the resumes they received for job applications did not have current job information. Update your resume whenever you have new career experience so that you will be ready to submit it to an employer.
5. Reveal your passions
Do you have a hobby or special interest that helps reveal who you are to an employer? Maybe you are a black belt in tae kwon do. Maybe you tutor in an ESL (English as Second Language) center. Perhaps you direct plays for a community theater. These interests can help a potential employer see that you are well-rounded and interesting.
Once again, do a little homework to see what you can find out about the company’s culture. You might find that management encourages employees to get involved with community outreach projects, for example. If this is the case, the volunteer work you have been doing at the soup kitchen for the past few years just might make you stand out among the other applicants.
While a professional resume is not the place to tell everything about yourself, when you selectively share details that show how you will fit into the company’s existing framework, you have a better chance of landing the interview – and the job itself.