TopResume's career expert shared advice with theSkimm on how to kickstart your 2021 job search with a great resume.
Amanda Augustine, our career expert, was featured on the SkimmThis daily podcast to answer listener questions about starting the new year off with job search success and how to turn your good resume into a great one.
Listen to the full interview and read highlights of her advice below.
Listen to Amanda on SkimmThis:
Standing out starts with design
Unfortunately, a flashy resume can work against you. Recruiters won't know where to look for essential information, and your resume most likely won't be readable by applicant tracking systems.
Don't reinvent the wheel! A traditional resume format will allow a hiring manager to quickly glance at your resume and understand why you are pursuing the job you want today.
Remember your resume is your brag sheet
Remember, your resume is a marketing document—you can never be too braggy about what you've accomplished.
Use the bullet points on your resume for your bragging points, and the things you want to call a recruiter's attention to.
For more information, check out Amanda's detailed guide on how to brag for your benefit on your resume. A two-page resume is absolutely acceptable for most professionals; you've earned the extra page and all your hard work is worthy of sharing.
Tailor your resume to the job description
Your resume has to be ready for two audiences: the human eyes of a recruiter and the mechanical eyes of automated applicant tracking systems. Applicant tracking systems match keywords from the job description to keywords in your resume in order to determine if you're a fit for the job or not.
Because you might be applying to a variety of roles with different job descriptions, it's best to have a few different versions of your resume, so you can submit the one that best reflects your desired role. Tailor your resume to fit each job description by incorporating the relevant keywords.
How to handle a gap between jobs on your resume
Don't let an employment gap derail you or get you discouraged!
TopResume's research surveying recruiters shows that employment gaps aren't considered as much of a potential red flag as they were in the past. Hiring managers are human too, and they understand that especially given the unique and challenging circumstances surrounding our present moment, more candidates may have employment gaps that were out of their control.
You can use freelance work, internships, or volunteer experience to help round out your resume. “You don't have to be paid for work to put it on your resume”, says Amanda.
You don't have to be paid for work to put it on your resume.
One easy way to occupy your time and fill blank spaces on your resume is with professional development activities. We have guides to a variety of different ways you can level up your skills online to help.
Resources for In-Demand Job Skills You Can Learn Online (2021)
How to handle a career switch on your resume
Amanda offered several steps you can take if you're thinking about changing careers or switching industries.
Do your research.
Understand what positions are available and what it would be realistic for you to accomplish. Look at different job boards and resources to understand who is truly hiring right now. Make a note of the job descriptions that interest you, because you'll need to refer to them again to write your resume.
Reach out to your friends, family, former colleagues, and send cold emails to those you admire for informational interviews. In these interviews, you can get a further sense for the current job market, and how your skills might apply to different areas that interest you.
Make a list of your skills.
List out all of your hard and soft skills and assess them against the positions that interest you to see what from your former career can be adapted for your new one. Our list of transferable skills for a career change that can help you get started on this process.
Want more? We have all the advice you need on how to plan and successfully execute a career change in the Changing Careers section of our blog.
Still need more resume help?
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From our free, expert resume review service and career advice to our professional resume writing services—we can help.
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