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What Is Required in a Resume Today? Our Top 3 Recommendations to Stand Out From the Rest!

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We live in a time of innovation. It is hard to keep up with pretty much anything anymore! You bend down to tie your shoe, and you might miss the latest trend. Resume standards have changed right along with everything else. A traditional list of your educational accomplishments and work experience with a generic summary just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially when you’re competing for a coveted position. In a sea of applicants, how can you make your resume stand out from the rest? Keep reading for three ways to make your resume pop!


  1. Make sure your resume is ATS compliant. 

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, a hiring streamlining software that acts as a database of job applicants. ATS takes a company’s job description and compares it to submitted resumes. It matches your target positions with keywords that these companies are looking for in the ideal candidate to see if it’s up to par and passes the test to be viewed by an actual human. If you’ve heard of SEO (the way websites get the attention of big search engines like Google by using related keywords), then ATS might feel familiar to you. But how do you apply this strategy to your resume, and where do you even start? Time to do some research! 

By organically incorporating keywords into your resume, you increase your chances of matching your targeted opportunities. To ensure your resume is ATS compliant for the position you are looking for, you first need to study several job postings of the positions you are targeting and collect the keywords that are used the most. Then, you need to apply those keywords throughout your resume and cover letter so it is optimized fully when you apply to similar positions. Choosing the right keywords can make the difference between getting through the door and waiting on the curb. If that all feels overwhelming, don’t worry, that’s what resume writers are for.


2. Make sure your resume showcases your accomplishments.

Rather than saying what you did, tell potential employers HOW you did it. Be the badass we know you are! Think about all the amazing feats you’ve accomplished thus far and use that information to complete your professional summary. And don’t forget about your skills list, both hard and soft. Hard skills are the attributes you acquired through training, education, or work experience. Soft skills are personality traits and form over time with life experience. Hard and soft skills hold similar weight, and employers want you to have both!


At this point, you might be asking yourself, how exactly do you do all of that in one resume? Well, let’s try one out.  


You’re a real estate pro, and in your previous position, you investigated and contacted buyers and sellers through a high volume of daily calls (work experience). How did you get that work experience? Well, because you are a dedicated, talented, and experienced real estate specialist with a proven skill for inside sales, sales coordination, generating new business, and customer service (professional summary). You definitely have inside sales expertise and are a property marketing specialist (hard skills), and are also a creative and dedicated leader (soft skills). 


And that’s how it’s done! Oftentimes, the key words you’re looking for are already there, hidden in your job experiences. It’s just a matter of asking yourself questions to dig deeper and deeper into your toolbox of key words. Again, remember, resume writers exist for a reason.


3. Make sure it is short and sweet. 

Keep it brief — even considering all that information you should pack in your resume, recruiters don’t want to read a novel. No hiring manager wants to read a complicated, over-written resume. Flowery language is wasted here. Be concise, clear, and to the point. Make it punchy, so you stand out from the rest. As far as actual resume length goes, two pages are okay, but please no more! If you’ve been out in the working world for a while, then you probably need more than one page. However, if you find yourself writing on that third page, stop! No matter how interesting your career has been thus far, hiring managers do not have the time to read your life story. Consider finding ways to combine your job descriptions if you worked in similar positions for different companies or cut the positions that aren’t relevant. Going into extensive details is what an interview is for. 


Wanna learn more? Keep scrolling down for more information on ATS optimization and tips and tricks for resume writing in our previous blogs! If, after all that reading, you feel ready to get started but need some help, then reach out to a pro! Here at Em and a Pen, we’re well-versed in the world of resume and cover letter writing and LinkedIn optimization, and we would love to help!