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The Skinny on Today’s Resume Trends

Generally resumes shift in subtle ways over time but essentially remain the same, until recently. As much as moving from a hand written resume to a word-processed one was an improvement the changes we have seen over the past few years are changing what we expect to see in a marketable resume.

Some Interesting Information On Today’s Resumes

The current types of resumes include a variety of names such as the standards, Chronological, Functional, Modified Chronological and a C.V. (curriculum vitae), to the more modern; ATS friendly resume, portfolio resume, video resume, graphic (designer) resume, inforgraphic resume, social resume which includes LinkedIn and a body of social profiles, and a personal website resume.

With competition for jobs as fierce as it is it is not uncommon for many of these resumes to be written by a resume writer. Resume writers are often either employed at a non-profit, social services organization or educational institution, working with a career management or outplacement organization or working as an independent resume writer.

The cost for a professionally created resume in Canada ranges from as low as $150 (sometimes on Group-On you can find them for $99) to $1000 and beyond, with most professional resume writers falling in the range of $350-$700.  Resume (and LinkedIn) writing is a big business and many of professional resume writers take courses and participate in resume writing contests to demonstrate their proficiencies.

There is often a lot of debate about what constitutes a good resume, though most people agree that accurate and error free are fundamentally required. Generally a good resume is considered a resume that clearly communicates a person’s past history, experiences and qualifications succinctly, is attractive and well presented and communicates the deliverables, what the candidate has to bring to the table. It is also generally agreed that in most instances the resume should be well targeted to the industry and the individual company and job.

Elements of an Effective Resume

What constitutes an effective resume is frequently a subjective array of details. Regardless of the style an effective resume generally needs to communicate the history and qualifications of a candidate as those factors relate to a specific role or type of position. Many resume reviewers indicate that a resume that is succinct, accurate, targeted and interesting has a better chance of making it in to the ‘lets look at further’ resume pile. Some of the top trends for the modern resume include;

  • A little bit of colour and style – resumes can range from mundane to wildly creative and still be effective but the modern trend is for resumes to add a few signature design elements such as a logo, some colour, an interesting header or heading, a chart or graphic and a touch of graphic design elements. Although most job seekers are not submitting video or infographic resumes they are getting more creative and inspired across different industries and jobs.
  • Brevity – With so much information accessible through social the length of the resume tends to briefer rather than longer. This includes both the overall length of a complete resume and the length of points and sentences within the resume. Key word phrases containing 3-5 words and summary points of 2-3 sentences depicting one concise big picture point are on point today
  • ATS resumes. The ATS friendly ATS resume is becoming a must have for many job seekers. This includes resumes with the appropriate use of Key Words, in context, that the ATS can pick up.
  • Multiple-resume – along with the not obligatory ATS friendly resume, more job seekers have multiple resumes in their arsenal targeting multiple jobs. It is not uncommon for a candidate to send in their ATS friendly resume to the job posting and also send their video resume, a link to a social resume or their designer resume along in to complete the application.
  • Achievements and Deliverables over common duties and responsibilities – most resume reviewers are smart enough to guess the basics of a candidates job by the job title and level of experience. Many resume reviewers are looking to see a career story that helps demonstrate a candidate’s skills and experience as making them knowledgeable and qualified as the best candidate

How do you Evaluate a Resume?

Balancing the objective and subjective resume review is an important element of being a resume reviewer. The resume(s) have to strike a balance between communicating the proper background and skills, with demonstrating an interest in the role and ability to deliver in a way that will benefit and contribute to your organization. Any resume format can communicate this effectively, a 30 second video, a fancy inforgraphic or social profile. As a review you can look for the following elements

  • Does the resume show enough qualifications to demonstrate the candidates is qualified to do the job
  • Is the resume professionally built and built with care including being accurate and error free
  • Does the resume present an understanding of the job and industry by showing that the candidate knows what is required to do the job to obtain actual outcomes? This is often accomplished by selecting examples of past achievements with tangible and demonstrable outcomes
  • Does the candidate demonstrate an understanding of the key elements of the job by including primarily relevant information and not just throwing in a bunch of information and hoping some of it sticks.
  • Does the resume demonstrate a connection with your company culture through words, appearance or style. For example if your organization is very modern and into graphic or video design does the resume (one of the resumes) incorporate some of those elements.
  • Does the resume demonstrate a candidate who is self-aware, confident and a potential fit for the company culture.

Once the basic qualifications are communicated and/or ATS spits out the best match resumes, the resumes that best communicate the candidate is able and interested in the job should be at least invited to participate in an interview screening session.