There are lots of standard “rules” for the creation of a CV or resume – rules that have been around for several years. Job candidates know, for example, that their physical addresses need not be included; they know that they must focus on achievements rather than just task responsibilities; they know that a photo of themselves is no longer considered appropriate. They even know that there are certain keywords for their professional skills which should be “dropped” into the document, in order to pass a digital scan.
There are some new additional “must haves” and “must not haves,” however, that may not yet be common knowledge. Here are 11 of them.
Using color does spruce up your document. Use colors that are a match for the “culture” of each organization to which you are applying. Navy and Maroon are good for more conservative organizations; splashier colors are okay for “looser” more progressive companies. Colors are good as borders, for you name, and as dividers between sections of your document. If the company has a website, check out the colors they use, and use the same ones – it’s a psychological thing, but it does help you stand out.
It is considered a good idea to attach additional applicant materials that is relevant to the position as appendices to your resume. This is more convenient for the reader than accessing those materials online.
Get those keywords in toward the top of your resume. Put as many as you can and still sound reasonable in your professional summary
This may be subtle or overt. Your “brand,” which should include both hard and soft skills can be presented in your summary of scattered throughout your work experience.
As short as you can make your document, the better chance you will have that it is read in its entirety, as long as it makes it through the digital scanning. Experienced candidates may go two pages; entry level candidates should shoot for one page. If you can add appendices, as previously mention, these can provide additional information for an interested recruiter or hiring manager.
There are many who predict that the time for submission of a resume is fast disappearing. Such predictors say that as long as you have the necessary education and work experience online, on your social media profiles, on your blog or personal website, all you need do is send over a “cover letter” with links to all of these things. But her is the thing: recruiters and hiring managers are busy people. They tend to want things right there in front of them, rather than being forced to click links to find you and your brand on several different places. The ultimate solution may be to have your own website that a potential employer can navigate through to get a holistic picture of you. That person then needs to only make one click-through. The day will probably come when this is the preferred method of screening candidates. For now, however, take these suggestions and see to it that your resume stands out.
Articles prophesying the death of the resume seem to surface at least once every year. I don’t claim to have a crystal ball, but I believe resumes are here to stay. Not too many people get hired these days without having to turn in a resume. They may not be the centerpiece of the job search as they were years ago (although many job-seekers tend to cling to them, hyper-focusing on them as the magic bullet that will allow them to escape the necessity of networking), but resumes continue to remain a vital element in job search.