Resume Fashions: What's Hot, What's not (Part II)!

What is happening in the current, Job Market?
What's hot for Career Transition resumes?
Should I use an objective on a resume?
How can I stand out in a crowd?

So what catches an employers' eye? What's Hot?

At the Robinson College of Business, at GSU, we have close to 8,000 Business Students. We provide professional resume reviews for thousands of job-seekers and also compile "Resume Books" for employers. These resume books will include all of the candidates/students in a particular major and are created in the classic, business resume styles. Therefore, chances are we have worked with a candidate just like you and have seen the resumes your competitors are using....

Let's look at what's hot and what's definitely not!

The Job Market today: What’s it’s not!

From the employers’ perspective, everything has shifted and is still shifting under their feet. It takes an increasing level of sophistication to stay afloat as a company, let alone, get ahead. The implicit contract between employers and candidates is non-existent. It used to be, if you worked hard and were loyal, your employer ‘took care of you’ often, for your entire career. The employer planned your promotions, raises and basically your entire career path. As an employee, you were passive. This was the norm, for our parents’ generation. However, in case you haven’t realize this yet, your employer no longer wants to shoulder this responsibility. In fact, the employer no longer knows, if their company will even be in business in 6 months, and cannot make any promises at all, not even to shareholders.

The Job Market today: What it’s not@! From the candidates’ perspective, candidates no longer want to be a passive recipient, of benevolent care. People want the freedom and mobility to change careers, move out of state, rebrand themselves etc… The average employee in North America will change careers 3+ times throughout their career lifespan, and will hold 5 or more jobs within each of these 3+ different industries. Our resumes are no longer a one-liner, they are a patch-work quilt of industries and jobs.

Personal Branding is Very hot. People spend more time choosing sunglasses, and looking at how the glasses enhance their face, then choosing a resume. They just find a random style online or a cheesy resume- builder template.  Professional recruiters and Human Resource professionals can spot these templates a mile away. As a result, many people's resume styles do not fit, are mismatched with their industry and goals and are totally random.

There are dozens of different resume styles and often candidates are overwhelmed and confused about the choices. You will need to use the right style for your industry, sector, job title and functional role. You cannot chose a style, until you understand how it can enhance your career goals and what the industry norms are. A professional Career Counselor, who has experience with high-volume, resume reviews can help you choose the best style. 

Career Transition: How will employers know what you are looking for? Here's the Catch 22....A typical resume is just a summary of what you have done, not what you want to do. If you are contemplating any type of career transition, minor (within the same industry), major (discarding all previous industries and functional areas) an objective or position statement or title bar is essential. Why? Otherwise, they will assume a similar career trajectory as your previous job. If you worked in retail, they will assume you want to stay in retail. Don’t keep them guessing.

The Objective: Is it hot or not? There’s a lot of debate about whether this is in or out. Some Career Professionals may advise you to omit it. But, if you are in career transition, how will employers know what you want?

NOT HOT “Seeking a challenging position in Corporate Social Responsiblity….. blah….blah…. blah… This type of vague statement doesn’t say anything meaningful about you and employs incorrect grammar. However, it is the most common type of opening objective which I see. This statement is also too vague, lacking direction and will usually warrants an immediate discard. Do you really want to leave your career direction, to the random guess of an HR person, who doesn’t know you?

Still Hot: include a line describing your specific, career goals and timelines, even if you omit the word – objective. Add seasons, dates, at the very least, so it can be sorted. Ie: p/t internship position, Fall/Winter of 2009, and f/t employment Spring 2010. Be concrete. Don't have an objective which is so nebulous, that is covers dozens of potential industries, sectors and roles. This just makes you look confused and directionless.

Fashion Runway Hot: Title Bar. No folks, this is not a passing trend, it is cutting edge. This is for the fashion forward and the bold. List your top 3 skills or your top 3 favorite job titles in a bar, across the top of your resume. There should be a line above and below these three words. Each word or title, should be separated by a mid line, bulleted dot or square. This allows, HR professionals and Recruiters, to understand your career direction and goals in 3 seconds or less.  I love a title-bar on a resume.

Summary of Qualifications/Positions sought: Why it's hot! This is part of a hybrid resume style and used to be avant guarde. Now, it is becoming more common-place.  It's like the abstract at the beginning of a Scientific research article. Don't think that resume screeners actually, read your entire resume. There simply isn't enough time, in high-volume, environments. You need to catch their eye and tantalize them a bit, create some mystery, so they will read on.

Format: include one/two lines, tightly written, highlight experience in field worked. And/or...

OCR Software, is Hot! You need to know what this is. Most resumes are first reviewed online by Optical Character Recognition Software. Not sure if a computerized search will pick up your resume? Use Acronyms and the entire phrase for industry-specific terms ie: APA and American Psychological Association. PMP and Project Management Professional. Make sure a key word search contains exact key words, commonly found in the exact job-postings you are pursuing. What comes up when you Google yourself?

What's hot: Use industry specific Key words. Research job titles, employers, online sites etc to learn what the Buzz words are, for your industry. For example if you are a Global Exectuive or want to postion yourself internationally, you will need key words and also qualifiers to describe your language fluency.

“Global Experience, International IQ, Intercultural Competency, Language skills, bilingualism”

How to describe your language skills (in this order): Native speaker, fluent, conversational or basic. Include information about your written proficiency as well.

Remember, a resume is a living document and should be updated at least twice a year. Every time you take on a new project, new volunteer job, or new role, you must update your resume. You need to know the standard resume "rules" or work with a professional who does. Once you know the rules, you can then, strategically break the rules.

A good, Career Counselor, will teach you some of the the Psychology behind resume writing. You will need to write a resume, from the mindset of the employer, not the candidate. You will learn what is "hot" for employers and how to get noticed.
Author: © 2009 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon Cohen, MA,Dip.Educ, CPRP. Career Management Counselor and Executive Educator .

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