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Resume Writing Tips for the Evolving Resume Format

When we were in school, we may have been told that your resume format should basically be your educational and professional history in li...

When we were in school, we may have been told that your resume format should basically be your educational and professional history in list form. You should pad it with as much detail as you can, especially when it comes to responsibilities in past positions that may be even remotely related to the current career you are pursuing. Besides the actual formatting, the meat of a resume didn't really change much before the advent of online job searching and recruitment. Even searching for free resume templates may bring up old, outdated formats that won't perform well in today's job marketplace.

As more and more employers and recruiters are using technology to post their job openings, as well as assistance in finding the most relevant resumes for a position, the chances of your resume being read in full by a human continue to decrease. The amount of time with eyes on a resume varies from six seconds to twenty seconds, according to different online sources. This flies in the face of everything we had been told before about the value of a well-padded, in-depth resume. Understanding the latest guidelines for your resume format will help your resume move through the various levels until someone actually looks at it and potentially opens the door to a job interview. Consider these top 3 easy resume writing tips when refreshing your resume:

1. Use the right keywords on your resume
Just as various companies craft their content to improve their Google search rankings, your resume needs to contain keywords that tie your accomplishments and skills back to the job description. It is not only possible, but likely, that a recruiter or employer will use keyword searches to bring up the resumes that they feel will be most worth their time to review. Read the job description carefully and review your resume before submitting it. This may mean tailoring your resume slightly to each position you are applying for, but especially if a certain opening is high on your list, it may be worth the effort to tweak your resume to more closely match the types of keywords they are using in their description.

2. Highlight quantifiable achievements and accomplishments
You are not necessarily selling yourself to an employer any longer. Employers are looking for results and want to make sure that whoever they hire is going give them measurable returns, if that's the kind of position you are seeking. If your past positions have any sort of quantifiable achievements that you can provide in your resume, that will give you a much higher leg up than just saying you were a sales representative, for example. Include what kinds of growth you provided for your previous employers, such as a 25% increase in sales with existing buyers or expansion of sales into four new markets.

3. Make sure your resume template is current and on-trend
There are many sites that provide free resume templates to give you an idea of where to start, though as mentioned above, they won't all be relevant today, so use a trusted site like Ladders that stays on top of the trends. Your resume format should be clean and uncluttered. Gone are the days of paragraphs; stick to bullet points that are easy to skim and don't drag out longer that needed. Don't use special fonts or colors to try to stand out, as these will just make your resume look less professional and possibly harder to read. Stick to fonts like Arial, Helvetica, and Calibri with the size set to 10 or 12 point. Even Times New Roman, the gold standard for many years, has lost favor with readability on a computer screen as fewer resumes make it onto paper.

Many of us reuse our resumes and just continue to add to and tweak them as we move forward in our professional careers, but the market has changed and overhauling your resume format may make the difference between someone reading your resume or being lost in cyberspace.