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The Best Way to Create Your Resume in the 21st Century

applicant tracking systems creation resume Mar 10, 2022

There are many myths about how a job applicant should create and style a resume.

First, let's review the basics. First, you need to make sure there are no grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes. If you use Microsoft Word or Google Docs, make sure you've spelled and grammar-checked the resume. In addition,  have another human being you trust, ideally a strong writer, to make sure your words and phrases make sense from a grammatical standpoint. Remember, just because someone is a strong writer does not necessarily mean that they're a good resume writer in the 21st century. Modern resume business writing requires a different skill set.

 Make sure your expectations are aligned clearly on this distinction. The person should look for grammar and spelling issues, assess ease of readability, and give you concrete ways to improve it. If you don't have anyone like this, Job Services Online offers our Basic resume review at an affordable rate to cover this for you. Visit our store for this service.

Next, you need to ensure that your resume is readable. You need to ensure you organize your work experience in a way that makes the most sense for the story you're trying to tell.

There are many ways to organize your work experience. You can do it by dates, job roles, or personal strengths. Whichever way you choose, you need to ensure it bests and quickly highlights your accomplishments to show why you're the best fit for the role. Based on the job description, you need to determine what problem the hiring manager is trying to solve, and then you need to figure out how to design your resume so that it reflects why you're the best candidate for it.

There are many arguments about length, and you must use your judgment. If you have a lot of relevant experience, it's OK to have a longer resume/CV. If you don't have a lot of experience, it's OK to have a shorter resume.

The key is determining what is relevant experience. Not all experience is relevant experience. If you have seemingly irrelevant work experience, you need to figure out ways to trim it or illustrate how the experience is relevant. Your resume should only reflect your experiences and tell a story that shows why you're the best candidate for the role. If you're unsure, utilize the professional help of a career expert to help you precisely describe and position the experiences that would make you competitive for the role you seek.

You also need to consider seniority. Having tons of relevant experience while applying for an entry-level position might be a red flag to the hiring manager. A hiring manager is concerned about finding someone to solve a business problem and who will stay long-term in a role. You need to understand the psychology of a hiring manager and use your best judgment when displaying relevant experience.

In addition, you need to figure out how to get your resume to pass applicant tracking systems so a human can review it. An applicant tracking system is an online system that organizes every candidate's resume within a database. Afterward, it passes the relevant ones to a hiring manager or recruiting team based on specific qualifications, characteristics, and resume features to assess whether the candidate would be a good fit for the role. This process happens via automation. Each applicant tracking system has a unique way of organizing and categorizing candidates. You need to ensure that you aren't getting trapped at that first level of the applicant tracking system, where a recruiter or hiring manager never reviews resumes. 

Common pitfalls cause a candidate to remain in this purgatory of no-response and automatic rejection. For example, the job requires a salary expectation, and you didn't include one, or you included one that's out of bounds of the salary band. In addition, the system might require skill sets that you did not explicitly state in your resume. You need to figure out a way to format your resume that achieves the set criteria within the applicant tracking system to ensure a human being can look at it. Be strategic. Many qualified people can do the job, but they don't know how to format the resume correctly to pass that first level of automation. As a result, they'll never get seen by a recruiter or higher manager to show why they're the best candidate. You need to correctly design your resume to increase your chances of successfully beating this automation. 

Finally, you need to ensure that the experiences you highlight signal you can do the job well and do it better than any other person who's currently on their team. At many top companies, the rule of thumb is you need to be better at least 50% than other people on their team before they even consider you. Consider that as the benchmark. How do you prove you're the best? You need to make sure you're quantifying your achievements. You need to be very specific on what you've done and what your accomplishments are.

Most importantly, make sure that those achievements reflect you'll excel at the job requirements, you're better than the current staff and the people interviewing, and you're an excellent fit for the team. Remember, the whole point of a resume is to get an interview.

If you need any help crafting your resume, rely on Job Services Online experts who have helped many clients define their narrative and craft a resume that lands jobs quickly.

Want to learn how Job Services Online can speed along your job search and get results? 

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