- If you’re job hunting in this shaky economy, your résumé needs to sparkle.
- Your résumé should highlight your experience and showcase the skills that employers seek.
- It should also be tailored to the job posting so that the employer can see what you offer.
When you’re job hunting in a softening economy, having a terrific résumé becomes all the more important.
Your résumé needs to tell your prospective employer who you are, what you’ve done, and what you can do in the future. Especially as data suggests there might be increased competition for jobs.
Roughly two-thirds of American workers are considering changing roles this year, according a LinkedIn survey of more than 2,000 US employees conducted in December. And while the job market looks strong for now— as of November, there were 1.7 job openings per unemployed person — the overall economic picture remains hazy. Most CEOs are bracing for a downturn amid layoffs in some industries, while other economic data, like job growth, suggests the US could avoid a recession in 2023.
Rebecca Pay has built a business — Pay for Precision — helping people write their résumés. She said résumés today should have a touch of personality and tell a clear story about how your experience qualifies you for the position.
“Writing CVs can be tough. That’s why I’ve got a business,” Pay told Insider. “Writing about yourself is the hardest thing.”
Some advice may be intuitive, like brainstorming with colleagues and using concise language when describing your work, Pay said. Other advice is different from what it was five years ago: Pay said most people should keep their résumé formatting simple unless they’re in graphic design or art.
It’s also become more normal to have a break in your résumé — a LinkedIn survey from last March found that nearly half of 7,000 employers considered candidates with career breaks to be an untapped talent pool.
Insider spoke with career experts about their advice for résumé writing in this uncertain climate.
1. Try some writing exercises
Eli Joseph, a faculty member at Columbia University and New York University, takes an unusual approach to résumé writing. In his book, “The Perfect Rejection Résumé,” he helps people document how they failed and what they learned. While you shouldn’t give this to a hiring manager, it’s an exercise in thinking about your experience in a different light.
Then, switch it up. Write a résumé where you completely praise yourself, jotting down all the personal, professional, and technical things you’re proud of each week. After looking at your experience and skills from these opposite perspectives, you can incorporate lessons from both into the final product.
2. Focus on a summary section
Both Joseph and Pay said the summary section is one of the most critical parts of your résumé. This section, which typically sits at the top of your CV, should be between 100 and 150 words and written in the first person.
Pay said this was a place to add your voice, instead of being overly formal. This is where you tell a story about how your qualifications equip you for the position you want.
“Work out what you uniquely offer,” Pay said. “Why would they pick you for the job as opposed to someone else?”
3. Update your skills
The types of skills employers look for have changed in recent years. According to a survey last year of 205 recruiters and hiring managers by Zety, an online résumé builder app and career website, soft skills are increasingly important to hiring managers. Teamwork, communication, and time management were among the most in-demand soft skills.
Be specific about how you’ve used your skills in the past, said Joseph. For instance, perhaps you’ve showcased and honed your communication skills with speaking gigs and presentations.
Technical skills are also important to employers. And artistic skills like writing or design can be worth highlighting to show that you’re well rounded, he said.
“It brightens up your résumé and it lets employers know that you’re productive in an organization,” Joseph said.
4. Tailor your résumé to each posting
Pay and Joseph agreed that you should change your résumé for each job application. These are often small tweaks in the skills section and the summary, that speak to how your experience would lend itself to the job.
“No application should be the same because no opportunity is the same,” Joseph said. “We need to add some flavor, and the best way to do that is to come up with as many ideas as possible so that you can make changes on the résumé for opportunities in the future.”
This story originally published on August 9, 2022.