Modernize Your Resumes for 2016

From fashion to the world of business, nearly everything is subject to trends. Resumes are no different, even though traditional resume formatting and modernize your resume for 2016content has remained static for decades. Thanks to the increasing use of social media in recruiting and hiring talent, however, resumes are having their moment for a makeover.

Here are three trends I’m seeing in resume writing now, plus some tips on how they may or may not optimize your job search.

Getting Personal: As recently as 5 years ago, this would have been considered a bit gauche, but I’m not only seeing it more frequently, I’ve begun incorporating this first person voice in the resumes I write as well.

Formerly, resumes were very – well, formal. Candidates referred to themselves in the third person without actually using pronouns. Actually, that’s not a bad way to think about yourself. It’s difficult for most people to write their own resume because people are typically somewhat reticient when talking about themselves, so creating distance through the third person allows you to write about yourself.

But now that so many recruiters and employers are searching for candidates online, it may be a better strategy to develop a “cyber-bond” by speaking in your own voice. I don’t do it for every client; sometimes it just doesn’t sound authentic, but I do recommend it for everyone’s LinkedIn profile.

Attracting Attention (the right kind): What do employers want? They have a need (the job opening) and they want it filled (by hiring the best candidate). You have a need as well, and that’s to demonstrate how and why that best candidate is you. In order for your resume to pass the 3 – 6 second test to determine whether or not it will get read completely, you need to attract attention. The wrong kind of attention is by being unprofessional; the right kind is by showcasing specific detail about what you have done well and what you are noted for having accomplished.

Eliminating the Superfluous: Does it do any harm to mention that you’ll provide “references upon request,” or to mention personal information? What about your objective?

While there’s no harm in writing that you will happily provide references, why distract the recruiter’s attention with superfluous information? Of course you’ll provide references when asked. So why mention it?

With respect to mentioning your hobbies and other interests, there’s no hard and fast rule. Some recruiters I’ve spoken to like it; they feel that by mentioning hobbies and personal missions, the candidate can potentially forge a common interest with an employer. Others feel that resumes should focus strictly on professional attributes.

I lean towards the latter. Once you get called in for an interview, you should do your due diligence on both the company and the person(s) with whom you’ll be meeting. That’s where you’ll discover common interests, and you should definitely mention them during the “get to know you” part of the interview. For this reason, I think it’s great to mention hobbies and other interests in your LinkedIn profile, just not in the resume. But as I said, it’s not an exact science, so go with what seems authentic to your professional brand.

As for stating your objective, that’s a resounding “no.” The trend in resume writing is to target it to your audience, and not make it about your hopes, dreams and desires. Besides, I’ve never seen an objective that wasn’t some version of “to utilize my skills in a company where they can develop further.” Focus instead on fulfilling the employer’s objective – and that’s to make a great hire!