We hope you’ve had time to relish the 3 R’s over the holiday break – Relax, Recharge and Rejuvenate. Perhaps you are still enjoying this glorious weather with your family and friends?! Some of you could be looking ahead to where 2021 will take your career, and are refreshing your resume.
By now you are probably full-bottle (you have the basics) on how to write a good resume – ensure it is grammatically flawless, accomplishment-driven, keyword optimised, a couple of pages long…
But how about all the tips and tricks to writing a successful resume amidst a global pandemic where job seekers face a competitive job market?
Here are several tips and trends to consider when refreshing your resume in 2021 that could lead you to getting your dream job this year, and really making a difference.
Write for HR, Hiring Managers as well as Bots
Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) collects resumes and applications from hundreds of job seekers. It then parses them through software comparing and ranking top qualified candidates based on keywords from job postings and initial application questions.
When writing your resume at a time where unemployment and job seekers are at an all time high, it’s important to present and word your resume for all three audiences HR Managers, Hiring Managers and ATS. This is especially important as more companies utilise ATS to assist in screening larger than usual volumes of applicants.
Think of it as running a home run. You need to get “parsed” (past – excuse my poor humour) first base being the ATS, before you can get to second base, the HR Manager. Then finally to third base, the Hiring Manager…all before getting a home run – your ideal job!
With this in mind, and in order to get past first base, there are a number of key factors to consider when writing your resume for ATS.
Applicant Tracking Software:
- Can’t read text placed in headers or footers
- Are unable to read text placed in text boxes
- Don’t distinguish between bold, underlined, italicised, or coloured text
- Aren’t able to see photos, graphs, or charts embedded in your resume (JPG or PNG)
- Read MS Word Documents more accurately than PDFs
However, at the end of the day, if your resume is lucky enough to be seen by the human eye you have about 30 seconds to make a first impression. Ensure it is well written and addresses the key requirements and skills outlined in the job posting. This is the information HR specialists are chasing prior to selecting the top 4 or so candidates to forward to the Hiring Manager. The Hiring Managers will determine who gets an in-person interview, and ultimately decide who is the best fit for the role.
Emphasise Collaboration Skills
In a time when more and more teams are working remotely, and the term “workplace” has been replaced with “workspace”, many companies are using a vast array of collaboration tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime, virtual whiteboards etc.
In your resume it’s important to not only emphasise your experience with these virtual tools, but also provide examples of how you have successfully achieved project outcomes and / or led a team by applying these tools.
Include your Address on your Resume
As mentioned above, we work in an environment where the term “workspace” has replaced “workplace”, however, physical location and remote versus physical preferences for employers are important too.
1. Hiring Managers expect to see it.
For years applicants have traditionally included their physical address on their resumes, so nowadays hiring managers expect to see it. If it’s not there, they can double guess why it is excluded.
2. It’s preferred by Applicant Tracking Systems
One of the keywords ATS look for in a resume is the applicant’s address. If this information is missing, then the data screened is less complete and you run the risk of not making it to second base – the HR Manager.
3. Distance bias
This point is especially important in the current climate with unpredictable border closures and the promotion of supporting local employment.
In addition, research suggested that long commutes have a detrimental effect on employees’ health and productivity, with some employers hesitant to shortlist you if you live too far away.
Link LinkedIn to your Resume
Your LinkedIn (or other social media) profile is a quick, easy way HR Managers and Recruiters can run a background check on your professional experience, so why not make it simple for them to progress your application.
It also provides you with an opportunity to add a richer illustration of your abilities, interests and passions than a standard resume allows. Your LinkedIn profile should not be a copy-paste exercise of your resume – it should be written in first person and more conversational in tone.
Furthermore, LinkedIn recommendations are a virtual endorsement tool worth every second they take to complete. They are publicly available, link directly to a fellow LinkedIn members profile, and they also make it easier for opportunities to find you. This is because the number of recommendations you have, and the keywords included in those recommendations, form part of LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
Turn the World’s Lemons into your Lemonade
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt worldwide, affecting everyone in some way. Whether you’ve lost your job, had to home-school your children, or cancelled that long awaited trip overseas to see friends. You might even be looking to change your career path.
Either way, you had to make significant changes to your daily routines, and learn some new skills along the way. Amplify your resume with these new transferable skills!
If you were fortunate enough to not be laid off, make sure to update your resume with examples to reflect how you’ve led or influenced change that enabled you to continue driving business or serving your customers.
Detail your Soft Skills
At a time of uncertainty and constant change employers are increasingly seeking to hire candidates with strong soft skill sets.
Creativity, Empathy, Leadership, TeamWork, Work Ethic, Critical Thinking, Communication…
These soft skills are particularly valuable amidst a Global Pandemic where the ability to collaborate on a virtual platform and work remotely is more important than ever.