I’ve written about resumes before. But in today’s pandemic world, with record unemployment — higher even than those levels during the Great Recession — a good resume is critical.
While resume styles haven’t changed drastically since the pandemic, there are some things to consider in this new work world.
Competition is stiff. People from all sorts of industries are looking for work, or are worried they may soon have to look for a job. So broaden your job search. Don’t limit your search to a single job title. (And speaking of titles, does it have to include “manager” or is that your ego talking?) Be strategic. Experts suggest you create a list of 10 job titles that align with your skills and talent. For example, the title “secretary” aligns with “administrative assistant” or “executive assistant.” By searching for those three job titles, you have expanded your job search.
What about the salary? What if the pay isn’t better than your existing or previous job? Take a close look at your budget before you disregard an opportunity. This is especially true for those who have just graduated from college or are older than 50 and looking for employment. If a potential employer is impressed with you during an interview, there is often wiggle room in the wage.
Everyone has transferable skills — skills that you’ve acquired from past jobs and carry with you to your next job. Now is the time to identify and showcase them. These skills show a potential employer than you can add value, even if you do not have direct experience. For example, a former server in a restaurant might list transferable skills such as the ability to communicate verbally with a diverse audience; the ability to multitask, work under pressure and meet tight deadlines; and of course, customer service. Make a list of your own transferable skills. And, in today’s virtual world, be sure to include computer skills and the ability to navigate online communication platforms in that list. If you know how to use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet or another online platform, call it out in your skills section.
Update (or create) a LinkedIn profile and add that profile address to the contact information section at the top of your resume. Add a profile picture. LinkedIn research “shows that just having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others.” Upload articles you’ve written, podcasts, etc., in the features section. This not only demonstrates your expertise to recruiters, but also the broader community. You never know who knows someone looking for your talent.
Check out various job postings. Instead of just searching LinkedIn or Indeed, go to an employer’s actual website to search for opportunities. They may have a position open that they have not yet posted on the job boards. Check out Facebook and follow companies you are interested in. Finally, don’t overlook specialized job boards like DICE.com and careers.wa.gov. Make your resume public on WorkSourceWA.com as well, so employers can find you.
In closing, a few important things to reiterate. First and foremost, a resume is not a work history; it’s an advertisement to get the recruiter to call you for an interview. Second, businesses expect you to write a resume just for them. This means targeting the resume for the job you want and adjusting content accordingly and calling out concrete accomplishments. Most important of all, make your resume easy to read. Avoid resume templates found online which are often blocked by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). (ATS uses algorithms to scan resumes according to key words; only those deemed best fit are passed on to real live recruiter.) You have about six seconds or less to catch someone’s attention; spend the time to create a resume that does just that.