Resumes. For our recruiters here at Matlen Silver, we are practically swimming in them. We are presenting them to clients, helping professionals perfect them, and are reviewing them A LOT.
For most of YOU, though…well, you don’t quite thrive on resumes like we do. In fact, you probably prefer not to think about them at all. It’s okay; you’ve got a lot of other stuff to think about!
But, while we don’t think you should stress about your resume all the time, it is definitely a good idea to revisit and update your resume regularly. With the end of the year approaching, it’s an especially good time.
Resume expectations have evolved
So much has changed about applying for jobs since even a few years ago. What you expect from recruiters and employers, and what employers expect from you. Your resume is in that list — a simple cut and paste of titles, skills, and duties isn’t going to cut it. Employers today want to know your story, and your resume is one of your first introductions.
So, what does a good resume look like today? Honestly, it’s not that different than in the past. It’s just a change in perspective. Here are a few key components:
It’s as long as it needs to be.
Conventional wisdom and classic advice dictate that your resume should only be a single page. Any longer, and recruiters will flippantly toss your resume into the recycling bin.
Hold on one second 🛑
In fact, your resume should be as long as it needs to be! There is no hard and fast rule (although personally, I wouldn’t go above two pages) about length. There are classic (mostly anecdotal) “studies” that claim to show 1-page resumes get better results. But now there is also research showing that 2-page resumes help you land the job more often.
That’s why it’s best to ignore headlines designed to get clicks, and instead focus on YOU, and the job/employer that will receive your resume.
When it comes to length, rather than focusing on a specific length, keep this advice in mind:
📄 Customize your resume for each position. When you write each resume “clean,” you’re less likely to bulk it up unnecessarily.
📄 Avoid telling your complete story in the summary — hit the highlights and entice the recruiter to keep reading.
📄 Remove experience or information that doesn’t pertain to the specific job. In other words — trim the fat and keep your resume to the most impactful information!
📄 Keep your sentences short and sweet. Avoid superfluous words and flowy sentences. Just get to the point.
📄 You can cut out content like “Resumes furnished upon request” (It’s assumed), hobbies, a photo, logo, and other fluff.
It’s really easy to read.
For a vast majority of positions, creative formatting is not necessary. In fact, it’s often not appreciated. There are a few reasons for this:
> Oddly-formatted resumes can be difficult for applicant tracking system (ATS) technology to scan, which could hurt your chances of your resume making it to the next stage.
> Recruiters and employers are looking for key information, and although length isn’t as important as some think, it is important to be mindful of the fact that recruiters are often reviewing dozens or even hundreds of resumes. If it’s hard to get the information needed to make a decision, it may hurt your chances.
To make your resume super scannable and easy to read, follow these tips:
▶️ Clearly identify each section (use the H2, H3, etcetera tags in your Word Processing software to make it simple).
▶️ White space is a good thing. Leave breathing room between sections, so that the reader’s eyes can easily move from section to section.
▶️ Use simple fonts. Also, avoid mixing in three or four fonts. You can use distinct fonts for the headers and content, but avoid going overboard.
▶️ Go with an “F” pattern to lay out your content, with the most important information aligned to the left of your document, and in the top corners.
In nearly every role nowadays (but especially in tech and engineering), specific skills, software, and other capabilities will be important to recruiters. A “skills” section should absolutely be included in your resume to specifically showcase what you can bring to the table.
Beyond your skills, though, also try to be as specific as possible when describing your previous experience. A good way to help think about this is to consider what you accomplished instead of what you “did” every day.
So rather than a bullet point that states, “Worked on iOS and Android app development,” go with “Led development of a top 10 iOS app and more than a dozen Android productivity apps.” You could even get more granular.
Including awards and recognition are, of course, excellent. As is quantifying as much as you can — these and other elements help to tell your story, rather than simply list your background.
There are SO many things to consider when it comes to your career.
But of course, we can help you get your resume in pristine shape. From finding great jobs, applying to them, interviews and all the details, it can be overwhelming. And even tempting to just stay put, even if you’re not happy at work.
Hold on, because we can help! We’ll handle a lot of the details and help you put your best foot forward. You can and should be excited to go to work (most days — we’re all human, after all!). Take a peek at our current openings, or reach out to connect with one of our recruiters, to take the first step.