Resume Writing Trends and Tips

The Career Thought Leaders white paper from the 2011 Global Career Brainstorming Day attended by many careers professionals (myself included) has so much information that I still need to re-read it a time or two to grasp it all. However, I found quite a few tidbits just on resume writing and cover letters that I thought you might find useful. (Note: The subtitle of the report is “Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”) Quotes used are from the CTL white paper.

To keep this post from running really long, I’ll do a separate post next time on the subject of cover letter trends and tips.

It’s Not Too Late to “Catch the Wave” for Resumes

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the need to make your resume and cover letter present you as someone who stays on top of trends, you’re not alone. Technology makes it either harder or easier, depending on how you look at the situation. However, you can take some steps that at least move you in the “right” direction–that is, show you are aware of and making an effort to use approaches that are forward-looking rather than stuck in the past. In some cases, this might require you to move just a little outside your comfort zone; but it shouldn’t push you so far out of the zone that you feel totally overwhelmed and lost.

One guideline that might be helpful is to look at what’s being widely done now, what only appears occasionally and harks back to the past, and what seems to be emerging and gaining ground but isn’t yet fully adopted. That leaves the truly cutting-edge approach to both resumes and cover letters, which maybe only the most adventurous job seekers (or possibly those in the most creative fields) can justify using.

What’s New in Resumes?

The CTL report lists 6 new resume trends, which I’ll quote briefly:

  1. Strategies and tools for conquering Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are appearing and evolving. ATS have become more sophisticated and more choosy….In response, new technologies, tools, and strategies have emerged to help resumes rise to the top.
  2. Writing gets shorter. Not just for resumes, but for brand statements and all marketing communications. The “Twitter generation” knows how to pare messages to the minimum.
  3. What’s old is new. Think multimedia. In addition to emailing and online postings, candidates should consider mailing a perfect resume on high-quality paper along with a customized cover letter.
  4. Contact information gets an update. The emerging trend…is to include a website address/URL, online profile links, city and state only…, a single phone number…, and a single email address.
  5. Resumes are not always the leading career tool. In some searches, resumes are being replaced by online communications with the resume occasionally serving as the leave-behind document after LinkedIn and email exchanges have provided the initial information of interest.
  6. Creative styles are emerging to show dates and experience. Especially useful for contract employees, consultants, and freelancers, this strategy allows candidates to express experience in chunks of time… rather than using specific dates. (Note: This is not an approach I would recommend if you’re among the more general group of job-seeking individuals.)

Remember, if you need help bringing your resume into the 21st century and positioning yourself as a viable, up-to-date candidate for attractive job opportunities, that’s a service I offer and love to provide, so feel free to get in touch and let me know how I can help.

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