Résumé writing rules to follow

■ Metro Service / Contributed

When professionals are ready to take a new step in their careers, it’s wise to revisit their old résumés and see what can be done to update them for the current day and age. This is especially true for people who may have been out of the job-seeking arena for some time.
Writing a résumé can be complicated. The rules for finding a new job are continually evolving, and résumés remain a big component of that process. The following are some current résumé trends that will help professionals stand out from the masses.

Consider design. Design your résumé so it will look good whether it’s viewed on a screen or a mobile phone or printed on paper. Classic serif style fonts can make a résumé seem dated, so select modern fonts that are crisp. The idea is for the résumé to look balanced and clear, without being overdone with modifications, like italics and bold lettering. However, a spot of color could provide much-needed attention.

Be brief yet effective. A concise design is key. Many recruiters spend little to no time reviewing the hordes of résumés they receive. In fact, automated résumé bots may initially screen the documents to thin the crowd. According to data from the 12th annual Mystery Job Candidate survey by CareerXRoads, the average recruiter spends six seconds looking at a résumé. If a résumé is lengthy or doesn’t attract attention, it will likely be ignored. Stick to a single-page and make sure wording is brief but meaty.

Keep juicy details up top. Format the résumé so the most pertinent information is within the top one-third of the document. Beef up a summary statement and use it in lieu of an objective. Make sure that summary includes keywords that promote your skills and experience to potentially lure the recruiter into reading more.

Tweak job titles. Mimic phrasing from the job listing to beat the bots and get résumés flagged for review. Slightly change job position titles so they mirror the wording used. For example, if a recruiter is looking for a “financial account manager,” and you have the experience, list your title as something like “Senior manager of new financial accounts.”

Who you know. Landing a new job is often about what you know, but getting a foot in the door is also largely influenced by who you know. Include any professional groups to which you belong or alumni associations. Who knows? The recruiter may have the same alma mater, and you can bond over your shared mascot.

Keywords, phrasing, formatting, and having the right skills for the job can ensure a résume is seen by a recruiter, and perhaps even lead to a new career.

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