Dominique Vatin is a Staff Writer and Resident Career Expert at Resume Genius, where she writes about everything from how to make a resume to ways you can ace your next interview. When she isn’t helping job seekers find higher-paying, more fulfilling work opportunities, you can find her whipping up various cakes at home or planning her next hiking adventure.
Landing a job in 2022 is tricky. You’ve studied how to write a resume and applied for a job that you seemed perfectly suited for, only to not even get a response? Or replied to an ad that seemed desperate for new hires, but didn’t land an interview?
It’s probably because of your resume.
In a world where technology has taken over almost every industry, the process of creating a resume is constantly changing. What worked five or even two years ago, might not get you hired today.
How do you keep up? Below, we’ll walk through what resume writing looks like today, and offer up some helpful tips on what employers are actually looking for.
Resume writing in 2022
When many of us grew up, there were hard and fast rules for resume structure and content. It had to be one page, include a hefty job description, and a laundry list of your applicable skills.
While a one-page resume is still ideal, the other rules have changed. One of the biggest reasons is the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), software that automates the hiring process by quickly scanning resumes for specific keywords and phrases that match the job posting.
If your resume doesn’t include those terms, you likely won’t make it to the next stage in the hiring process – even if you’re otherwise qualified.
This means that generic, one-size-fits-all resumes are a thing of the past. To stand out, you’ll have to show off your personality and examples of your accomplishments, and convince hiring managers that you can deliver the results they’re looking for.
How to make your resume stand out
To stand out among the hundreds of other applicants, your resume should:
- Be well-written and free of typos
- Use an easily readable font and layout
- Include specific keywords from the job posting
But further than that, you’ll have to focus on a few key characteristics to make sure your resume doesn’t just blend in with the rest.
Write a high-level summary
The days of a wordy, paragraph-long introduction are gone. Instead, open with a strong, one-line statement that immediately piques the reader’s interest and makes them want to learn more about you.
This can be a brief overview of your professional life or an interesting anecdote that gives insight into who you are as a person. But make sure it’s something that will make the reader want to keep reading – hiring managers are busy and don’t have time to read a novel on someone else’s work history.
For example, if you’re applying for a social media marketing position, you might open with:
- An energetic and creative social media expert with experience in managing successful campaigns for both B2B and B2C companies.
- A numbers-oriented marketer who knows how to use data to drive results, with a proven track record of increasing leads by 50% in the first 6 months.
Each of these statements tells the reader what they can expect from the rest of the resume. They’re also specific enough that it’s clear this person is qualified for the job they’re applying to.
Accomplishments over experience
In previous generations, staying at a company for a long time was seen as a badge of honor. But things have changed. The most successful employees are now switching jobs more often, with those hopping from position to position sometimes earning as much as 12% more than those who stay.
When you’re detailing your experience, employers don’t care as much about how long you were in a job as much anymore. They want to know what you achieved. How did you make a difference in your previous roles?
Include accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, using numbers whenever possible. If you increased sales, by how much? If you managed a team, how many people were on it?
When writing about your experience, start each bullet point with a powerful action verb. For example:
- Developed and executed an award-winning social media campaign that increased brand awareness by 25%
- Led a team of five customer service reps, resulting in a 15% decrease in customer churn
- Wrote 50 blog posts that generated 100,000 pageviews and led to $10,000 in new revenue
They want to know what kind of results you’re going to bring to the office (or virtual office) every day.
Choose personality over education
Personality has replaced education as a key differentiator on resumes. In most cases, your education will be listed near the bottom of your resume and won’t require more than a few lines.
But don’t be fooled. There are still some companies and industries that care more about where you went to school than what you can do because they expect to fully train and mold you. But they’re increasingly in the minority.
Many business tasks are done by people, which leads employers craving for employees with people skills – the ability to collaborate, communicate, and think creatively.
If you have any experience working in customer-facing roles, make sure to include it. If not, consider adding volunteer work or extracurricular activities that have helped you develop these skills. Try to allow the hiring manager to envision what it would be like to work with you every day.
Focus on results
The bottom line is that while company culture is important, employers don’t want to hire someone that can’t deliver. Shining a light on the positive results you have achieved in your previous roles is the best way to show that you’re up for the challenge.
Including metrics and data points will help employers understand the scope of your accomplishments. But don’t stop there. Use specific examples to illustrate how you’ve helped solve problems or improve processes in your past roles.
Were you able to increase sales by implementing a new strategy? Did you develop a more efficient way of doing something that saved your team time or money?
Be as detailed as possible, and back up your claims with data whenever possible. Your resume should be filled with examples of the great work you’ve done, and how it benefited your previous employers.
Learning how to make a great resume can still be a challenge for some people. You may not feel comfortable writing, or you may be unsure of what keywords to include for your specific position. Luckily, just as employers are leveraging technology – so can you.
There are now highly advanced resume builders and tools available to help you create a modern, professional resume. Use these resources to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a style that works for you.
The most important thing is that your resume tells employers what they need to know about you – that you’re qualified and will be an asset to their team.
By following the tips above and crafting a resume that highlights your accomplishments and results, you’ll be well on your way to impressing employers and getting hired in 2022.