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Resume Refresher: 4 Dos and Don’ts

resume refresher

It’s a job seeker’s market! Your dream job is up for grabs! So why do you apply for job after job with no results? It could be the way you’re applying—specifically, your resume. How important is that one little document? Extremely. It’s the key to scoring an interview. Yet, that vital key is given extraordinarily little time to make its point.

On average, an employer will spend seven seconds reviewing your resume. Seven seconds. And that’s if a human ever lays eyes on it. At least three-fourths of recruiters and talent managers use some sort of recruiting or applicant tracking software, which can scan your resume for a match automatically. In many cases, only resumes that pass the first automated test will be seen by human eyes.

But don’t get discouraged. The system is designed to find the best job matches, and it will work in your favor if you know how to give those first reviewers—whether they’re robots or humans—what they need. Here are some of the latest tips from experts across Austin and beyond to give your resume the makeover it deserves.

Do Format It For Success

Remarkably, one essential way to get your resume read has nothing to do with the experience you highlight. Instead, it’s all about the format. That’s because Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will reject resumes that they find unreadable, which can happen when there are too many design elements in the template you use.

Diana Dussan, the owner of Austin-based Resume Goat, says that an ATS-friendly resume trumps an overly designed resume. “Unfortunately, not a lot of people know about the importance of ATS when applying to jobs, making their efforts in landing an interview futile,” Dussan explains. “While infographic resumes were popular several years ago and are no doubt aesthetically striking, I recommend avoiding this type of resume.” For certain job seekers, she adds, strategic design elements may be useful. In those cases, a hybrid resume that’s ATS friendly yet design-centric is a happy medium. She discusses the two types of resumes here.

Do Use Keywords From The Job Description

Once you ensure your resume can be read by an ATS, it’s time to make certain the ATS likes what it reads. Submitting the same resume for every job won’t do the trick. Instead, you need to tweak your resume to match the exact keywords used in each job listing you’re answering.

For instance, one organization may be looking for someone who is “results-oriented” while another is seeking a “self-starter.” Match the words you use to theirs. Fair or not, minor tweaks like listing an MBA instead of a “Master’s,” depending on the exact wording of the job’s qualifications, can make or break your chances.

Don’t Include Fluff

Your resume should be as long as needed and include only what’s useful—no more, no less. That means listing a summary statement instead of an objective. We hope your objective is to get that job, so why include it? The Muse explains the shift in thinking here.

Another imperative: Measurable results. While it’s vital to match general keywords in a job description (see above), you should back up those claims with proof. Give the employer numbers and context. Lifehacker offers some great tips on how to develop these resume points.

But what these details push your resume past the one-page mark? That’s likely OK. If you have more than ten years of experience and, certainly, if you’re applying for executive roles or are in an academic field, your resume will realistically be two pages. ResumeGenius offers tips for determining how long your resume should be.

Don’t Ignore Your Linkedin Profile

Consider your LinkedIn profile an extension of your resume. Why? Because 67% of companies look at job candidates’ LinkedIn profiles. First, be sure your LinkedIn is consistent with your resume. Our Austin recruiters admit that one of the easiest ways to spot an untruthful resume is to compare it to the job candidate’s LinkedIn profile. Discrepancies in job titles, dates, and qualifications are red flags.

Second, highlight your LinkedIn and use it as a tool to expand on what you can’t fit within a resume. “Your LinkedIn should be in the top section of your resume, where your contact information (and professional website, if you have one) is displayed,” recommends Peter Yang, CEO of Resume Writing Services/ResumeGo. “Your resume should feature information that’s relevant to the specific job you’re applying for, while your LinkedIn should appeal to a wider audience and paint a more complete picture of your background and skills.” Capstone Resumes offer additional tips on tying your resume to your LinkedIn here

Some other advice we’ve given over the years that still rings true:

  • How (and why) to anti-bias your resume. Whether it’s blatant or unconscious, hiring managers take certain cues from your resume that can paint a picture about you: your age, religion, marital status, personality, race, and even gender or sexual preference. These factors shouldn’t play a role in your employability in most cases (in fact, it’s often illegal for them to be considered), but once those hints are thrown out there, they’re difficult to ignore. 
  • Mistakes to avoid on your resume. Not long ago, we asked our HT Group recruiters what seemingly “little” resume mistakes they see repeatedly. Review this list of the top 14, including outdated skills, typos, misused words, and unprofessional email addresses. These tiny oversights can stand in the way of getting that first call back.
  • Stop lying on your resume. Up to 80% of job seekers have lied on their resumes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do. Austin employers are savvy about it (see the section above regarding LinkedIn), and being caught in the lie could even land you in jail. Check out these tips if you need to clean up your resume before proceeding.

Employers are scrambling for talent right now, but that doesn’t mean that any old resume will get you noticed. With limited time and more automation, your resume needs to be spot-on to earn you job interviews. Our recruiters can help. Plus, we’re hiring in droves at The HT Group, just like everyone else. Who knows? Maybe you’re a match for one of our open positions at The HT Group! Email our CEO Mark Turpin and ask him what positions we’re filling.


Ready to move your career forward? Connect with The HT Group today!

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