If you’re testing the job market in 2018, you couldn’t pick a better time. The economy is creating jobs at a healthy pace, and jobseekers are having little trouble finding them. For companies looking for good people like you, the market is tight. Quality candidates are hard to find and don’t stay on the market for long.
And so hiring organizations have decided to up their game. They’ve invested heavily in slick recruiting technology. They’ve learned how to make a splash on social media. Recruiters have gotten sharp at connecting with hard-to-reach talent.
In short, companies are at the top of their hiring game, and they expect the same of job candidates. What do you need to know to stay on top of 2018 resume trends? We asked some of the best recruiters in the business to tell us, and as frankly as possible.
Due to the candidness and media concerns, we’ve changed the names of our recruiters who gave us direct quotes.
2018 resume trends: What the experts say
1. “Your resume won’t get you the job on its own, but it will rule you out in a heartbeat”
Some say this 2018 resume trend spells the death of the resume. But the recruiters we spoke with say no. If anything, the resume is even more important now. Why? Thanks to HR technology there is more for the jobseeker to lose, and more ways to do so.
Karin, a freelance recruiter serving multiple large clients, had sound advice for making this 2018 resume trend work to your advantage: “choose each opportunity you apply to very carefully, and make each one count.”
That takes more time for the jobseeker. But think about this. With unemployment so low, good candidates are hard to find. Companies must choose very carefully which candidates they pursue, and use their time wisely. Otherwise, they’ll just come up empty on their candidate search.
You can help make their choice easy by first selecting and applying only to high-quality roles. Online tools such as Jobscan can help you assess quickly whether your resume is a good match. It can also help you select the right keywords to get past the ATS.
You are off to a good start if the keywords and skills on your resume are a good match to the job description. But even so, recruiters say you still need to customize your resume for the role and the company.
Personalize might actually be a better word. That’s because your aim is to match up your unique accomplishments with a specific role within a specific company.
Sometimes you may have to forego customizing your resume to get past an ATS for a large organization. In that case, attaching a personalized cover letter is the best thing to do.
Finally, every recruiter made it very clear, “absolutely zero spelling, typographical, grammar, or formatting errors. Anything short of perfect is out!”
2. “Stand out in all the right ways”
When recruiters spoke with us about 2018 resume trends, every one of them said repeatedly, “you’ve got to stand out.” They don’t mean be flashy or outrageous. What gets recruiters’ attention is establishing up front that you are the right match for the role and the company. In other words, you stand out from other candidates, not just other resumes.
That goes a step beyond the personalization we covered in the previous 2018 resume trend. It involves demonstrating your value to the hiring organization. To do that your resume must be oriented to their needs. The accomplishments you list must clearly speak to the unique ways you can address their needs.
In the words of Mitchell, a media industry recruiter, “Nobody wants to hear how good you are. They want to hear how good you are for them.”
One of the most effective ways to do this on your resume is to use the PAR Formula. Here, you frame your accomplishments in terms of the problems you faced in previous roles, the actions you took, and the results of those actions. Employers like to see results that can be translated into numbers. And they especially like to see accomplishments that speak for themselves in how relevant they are to the job opening.
Another way your resume stands out is by the story it tells of your career leading up to now. One of the most important 2018 resume trends is the story cannot contain anything that is not directly relevant to the role you are applying for. As Tatiana, a tech industry recruiter put it, “Everything about your career doesn’t belong on your resume. But everything about your career that is on your resume absolutely must belong there.”
3. “Show me that you’re someone I’d want to take a chance on”
Recruiters tell us they get plenty of resumes from qualified but nevertheless unexceptional candidates. But they also tell us a lot of resumes cross their desks that really intrigue them. Maybe they have unusual backgrounds or skill sets. Or perhaps they tell a story of a career that hasn’t always followed the well-lighted path.
Often the best hires come from this “special pile” of resumes, ones that prompted recruiters to take a chance. But recruiters can’t take a chance on everyone. Only a few spark enough interest to merit the extra time and attention. And so, the last of our 2018 resume trends is: set yourself up to get the break.
How do you make that happen? First and foremost, show that you have the right mix of hard and soft skills. New research shows that most jobseekers submit resumes that fail to match required skills on both counts. Jobseekers also tend to sell themselves short on soft skills, especially agility, communication, and serving customers.
Follow up by showing that you understand the organization and its particular challenges. It should be clear from your resume that you “understand the metrics that the boss is watching,” explains Maya, who manages a team of recruiters for a large multinational.
Savvy jobseekers will often highlight their problem-solving skills. They conclude with an accomplishment that speaks to a persistent challenge they know the hiring organization struggles with.
A higher standard for everyone
How should jobseekers make sense of all these 2018 resume trends? Alicia, who manages a staffing agency, summed it up wonderfully: “These days you expect every business to personalize the whole shop for you. That’s raised the bar for everyone. And that includes job candidates.”
Personalizing your resume is more important than ever. For some, it might be the one and only chance you get to stand out. For others, it might be that one break you’ve been looking for. Make it happen with Resume-Now’s resume builder, and start the 2018 job search off now, with a personalized resume.