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2016 Resume Tips

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I’m sure you’ve heard how you only have a few seconds to get a hiring manager’s attention with your resume. Well now a study published by Microsoft in May of this year confirms that. The study reveals how in the year 2000 we had a 12-second attention span, but by 2013 it had decreased to an 8-second attention span. We now have a one second shorter attention span than a goldfish. Not very comforting when you’re job searching and trying your hardest to get an employer to pay attention to your resume.

I’m left wondering … what does our shortened attention span mean for how we job search—and more specifically, how we write resumes? It means trends are changing—and so should your resume. So, taking this into consideration, here is my top-10 list of 2016 resume tips you need to know.Resume Tips 2016

2016 Resume Tip #1: Verbosity Not Welcome Here

It’s not just what you say but how few words you use to say it. In this article I’ve chosen to use bold subtitles for those who like to scan articles to review main points but don’t want to read the details. But I have also included additional information for those who like to have the main points supported—or context to go with the tips in bold. Do the same with your resume; create brief sentences that communicate key accomplishments, your branding statement, and critical information you don’t want the employer to miss.

2016 Resume Tip #2: Master Editor Required

Write a detailed version of your resume once that includes everything you think is relevant to the opportunity. Then go back and remove everything that is not essential. Once you’ve done that, go back and cut out everything that is not critical. When you write your resume ask yourself: “Is this critical to my story or what I’m trying to convey to the employer?” If it isn’t, take it out of the resume. Save the discarded content in a master file so you have it if you decide later you really do need it. Consider yourself a master editor.  Evaluate every word and sentence, making it shorter each time you review it.

2016 Resume Tip #3: Scanners & Skimmers

Keep in mind that whoever reviews your resume first will typically scan it for critical information. The first thing they’ll look at it is your title/branding statement, bolded keywords, position titles, and dates. If they like what they see, they’ll go through it again with a more-thorough read.

This exact reason is why newspapers and news articles start with a great headline, give the most critical facts/details first, and then gradually fill in the not-so-critical information further down in the story. They know you don’t want to wait until the bottom of the article to get the best information. Do the same in your resume. Start with your branding statement and make it answer the decision maker’s questions: “Why should I care?” or “What’s in it for me?” When time is of the essence, answering these questions first gives the reader exactly what they need to know up front; then they can choose to keep on reading.

Using a profile summary or career summary is gradually fading away. Instead, replace it with a branding snapshot or profile snapshot. Write the newsworthy information in short, impactful statements or with as few words as possible so they can get the facts immediately.

2016 Resume Tip #4: Formulas Flesh Out Your Story:

Share a challenge/situation/problem, the action you took to address it, and the result. Write the result by sharing how it positively impacted your employer or client. These statements make an impact, tell a story, and give the reader context. When writing your career history it’s best to lead with the result/impact to the client or employer because this is usually quantifiable.

Here is a quick example of what I mean by a S.A.R. statement:

Situation/Challenge/Problem: ABC operated at a loss of $750,000 in 2014.

Action: Personally vetted by President for company turnaround. Cut costs by 35%, revamped hiring practices to reduce turnover, overhauled budget and spending practices.

Result/Impact: Delivered $550,000 profit by end of year 2015.

Once you have your situation, action, and result you can take the information from the three and put them together to create a bullet point on your resume.

2016 Resume Tip #5: Pictures Win – Neuroscience Says So

A recent study found that information presented in both visual form and text was retained by 65% of people after three days versus only 10% able to recall at three days via text only. Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco.) Graphs, charts, and infographics are visual ways to present important data on your resume. If the information is quantifiable you can create a visual to communicate it.

Images are shared more on social media platforms than plain text. In this article the research states photos on Facebook are shared 75% more than articles, links, or text. While this isn’t research on resumes in particular, it does speak to how much our brains and eyes are drawn to visual images. In the fall, I wrote an article about what employers see when you apply on LinkedIn. The revelatory content received great praise for its insightfulness. However, when I created an infographic of the same information within the article and posted it on LinkedIn, it was shared significantly more than the article itself. The article was published by LinkedIn on several of its channels but was shared only four times and viewed 700. The infographic was never published on any of LinkedIn’s channels, yet it was shared 53+ times and has been viewed 2,000+ times. Evidence that visual content gets more attention.

2016 Resume Trend #6: Visual Branding Is Important

Personal branding isn’t just about the words you use; it’s also communicated visually through word pictures and images. Certain colors have specific meanings to your personal brand! Check out this video from Personalbranding.tv to find out what your personal branding color is and consider that it may be time to include your color brand in your resume: http://www.personalbranding.tv/what-color-is-your-personal-brand/. You can also incorporate this visual branding into your LinkedIn profile by changing your profile photo and header.

2016 Resume Trend #7: Shortened Sentences

Our brains adapt to new ways of absorbing content, and a prime example is how we interact with the Internet. Twitter makes us share thoughts in 140 characters or fewer. Now you’re forced to keep your point short and sweet. For a person like me who loves the details, condensing my thoughts into short bite-sized sentences is difficult; but it really has become necessary in our society. With decreasing attention spans, writing tweet-sized resume sentences is a right-on-time strategy. It’s not a trend I see fading away in the coming years either—but it is one I see making it increasingly more difficult to adhere to. The next time you write a sentence for your resume, see how many characters are included and whether you can get it down to 140 characters or fewer without losing impact.

2016 Resume Trend #8: Money Matters

Did you make it, generate it, contribute to, save or help someone else in the process? Employers care greatly about the bottom line. As a direct contributor, how did you impact the bottom-line profitability of the company? For an executive assistant, how did your initiative and foresight allow your boss to save money or increase billable hours? Whatever you do, find the connection to dollars and share it. If nothing you did in some way affected costs savings or revenue generation, find the bleeding need your target company/audience has and communicate how what you’ve done in the past has stopped the bleeding!

2016 Resume Trend #9: Infographic Resumes

Take a minute to search for infographic resumes on Pinterest. Its popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. Will an infographic resume ever replace a traditional resume? No. Does it work for everyone? No. For many job seekers there is a right time and right place to use an infographic resume. I’ll let you in on a little secret too—you can make your own! There are a number of sites you can use to design your own infographic resume including www.visme.co, www.visual.ly, www.venngage.com, www.piktochart.com, http://www.infogr.am, and www.easel.ly. You could use these sites to create graphics to incorporate into your resume too.

Some important points you need to consider when you’re evaluating whether an infographic resume is right for you—as they’re not for every industry or position; they can work very well for industries such as marketing, sales, technology, social media, graphic design, or telecomm. You may find that groundbreaking companies, smaller businesses, or start-ups are drawn to infographic resumes. I can see infographic resumes being a great tool when tapping into the hidden job market as you’re bypassing traditional HR departments. A January 2015 survey stated 68% of people would look at an infographic resume while 32% said it depends. Interestingly enough, not one person said they wouldn’t look at one.

2016 Resume Trend #10: The Demise of ATS

Applicant tracking software is starting to make a slow decline and fade away. Employers have discovered that computer software systems are good at scanning keywords on a resume, but they’re not good at discerning talent, trustworthiness, dedication, hard work, and most importantly FIT. While ATS has its usefulness—as there’s no way an HR representative can realistically read thousands of resumes that pour in every day—their practicality and validity is waning. Resumes that used to function as your “first impression” to an employer have become the second or third thing an employer will see about you. Social media sites such as LinkedIn, website resumes, portfolios, and video resumes have allowed job seekers to tap into the hidden job market and bypass sending resumes first. Today, your LinkedIn profile is more likely to be your first impression with a potential employer.

As you sit down to write your resume, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be 10 steps ahead of your competition.

Having a hard time writing your own resume? Let’s chat! Visit my website at http://www.greatresumesfast.com, call my office at 1.800.991.5187, or connect with me on LinkedIn to discuss how I help busy job seekers create interview-winning resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles that cut their job search time by 50% or more and secure interviews in two weeks or less.

WANT MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS? Check out:

2016 Cover Letter Trends

INFOGRAPHIC: What Employers See When You Apply on LinkedIn

I’d love to know what you think the most important resume trends for 2016 will be. Share your thoughts below. In the meantime, let’s network! Feel free to send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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