Prepare to Resume Your Job Search

(5 min read)

 “Glad to hear you are interested, if you could send over an updated resume, we can setup a call ASAP.” It’s at this point in today’s job application process that many people feel a weight start to build on their shoulders. It is strange how difficult it can be to put together a great resume. Many people struggle when it comes to praising themselves or highlighting their positives. Others just haven’t put one together in decades so trying to capture ten to fifteen years’ worth of accomplishments can be overwhelming. Should it be a simple list, a huge block of text? Do you want to splash color all over it with moving gifs and pictures? Do you need to create a new customized resume for every different role for which you apply? So many questions…and to be honest… there have been some changes in recent times. Let’s go over some tips and tools to help keep you prepared at moment’s notice should opportunity come knocking!

The Basics

First, include your full name and contact information in a clear and easy to find location, preferably at the top. Highlight and detail all your professional roles and accomplishments. Add dates so that your professional timeline can be easily understood. These tips might seem unnecessary to state though over the years we have seen some rather questionable resumes. Now for the more involved questions.

One Page, Two Page?

The one-page resume reigned supreme for decades. Though well-suited for the greener applicants limited space forces those with more experience to compress and filter to the point that maybe too much valuable info hits the cutting room floor. Today, for the most part, if you can fill two pages you may feel free to do so. “Two-page resumes are the new norm,” Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster, pointed out in a CNBC article on the subject. Use the extra space to get specific and supply examples. 

But be warned, if you roll over onto the second page, you need to fill it adequately. Leaving an entire half page worth of blank space or having just a few lines of info on the second page looks poorly thought out.

Buzz Words

Be sure to address all requirements outlined in the job description and maybe even mirror its language if possible. For example, if the job description requires experience with a specific program or skill that you happen to have AND you actually possess that experience, try to highlight on your resume the exact term or phrase the posting displays. As we previously hinted and will dive into deeper further below, many times your resume is being scanned by either an inundated Human Resources professional or a new-fangled Artificial Intelligence program that is simply searching for those ‘must have’ buzz words. That is certainly not the case in all circumstances, however, if you are applying with a large organization with thousands of applicants across many open positions, you can operate under the assumption that they are utilizing some type of AI efficiency tool.

Typo Negative

Double check, then triple check, and for additional good measure, have someone else review your resume for spelling and word choice. Whether for executive or entry level roles, a glaring typo is proof positive that you are not as detail oriented as you may claim! In some cases, a misspelled misused word is an instant recycle bin toss for incoming resumes, a blunder that can be easily avoided with diligence. Part of that diligence is also providing your resume in PDF format once perfected. This helps ensure that nothing is changed by interceding parties either maliciously or accidentally. It’s highly likely that your resume will be changing hands a few times. Hands that are dealing with numerous resumes and other responsibilities. It is far too easy for someone to open a word doc and click somewhere or on something without realizing it. If by chance they delete or add something by accident, that then becomes YOU’RE…get it?...typo. By saving your resume as a PDF, it stays the way you originally intended it. 

Red Page, Blue Page?

But how should you intend it to look? This brings up a contentious debate within the HR and recruiting world that may not have a definitive answer; fancy resume or simple, to the point resume? This can swing based on things such as the specific industry you are looking to join or the size of the firm at which you are applying. If you are in graphic design or marketing, using your resume as an example of your creative abilities may be a great idea. In the same vein, if you are applying for a computer-based tech role, then, including widgets, strobe lights, and the works might highlight your mastery of all things screen based. Outside of those eccentric examples, simple and easy to follow resumes are greatly appreciated. Even within those examples, if the firm you are applying to is of any size, there is a chance that the actual hiring manager may not see your resume until it has filtered through an HR system and talent team. Folks that are potentially far less impressed by having to navigate the intricate beauty of your one-in-a-million resume and that would prefer to simply ensure your resume checks all the required boxes before passing it up the chain. Author Michelle Kruse states in a CareerCast article on the subject, “Don't just choose to use a creative resume because it's fun. You should have a good reason for mixing things up.”    

Placating the Machines!

As hinted at above a few times, one of the major changes that has been slowly, but surely working its way into the hiring world over the last decade or so is Automation. Assisting many of the swamped HR professionals pouring over huge stacks of resumes now is an AI inhaler software. This software is designed to take targeted resumes, parse the info, and plug it into specific fields within whichever Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that particular organization is utilizing. This can be a significant time saver as once resumes are parsed into the ATS, recruiters and HR team members, as well as additional AI software, can quickly and easily search for specific titles, terms, and talents. AI systems are getting better every day, but at this point in time, any type of tricky formatting or outside the norm phrasing can easily trip up these inhalers and AI key word search functions. Your beautifully designed, color coordinated resume with unique tables detailing info, margin-based boxes with gifs, and spinning text will probably not end up in the right field when uploaded by most of the AI software in use today. Your name may display as Topeka, Kansas with your email in the title field, leaving no way for the software to contact you.  This may seem like a worst-case scenario (which it is). Every day the tech improves and marches forward towards a more substantial and likely permanent integration. However, for the time being, it is probably best to work within the confines of the current AI’s abilities.

"It's dangerous to go alone! Take this."

Luckily, you are not left on your own in your endeavor to craft a resume that is both aesthetically pleasing, professional, and concise. There are dozens of different services that exist to help in many different ways. In a recent article, provided a solid summary of services and comparisons of some of the top paid resume building websites. Most provide templates in which you can plug in your personal info. There are even additional services that can scan job descriptions and provide feedback as to whether or not your resume would be a match for that particular role. Prices vary, but are about two to five dollars per month with some deals if you opt for an annual subscription.

Many sites can act as a place to store your resume where you can quickly and easily update it so that it can be ready at a moment’s notice when opportunity comes knocking. If even further help is required, (or you do better face-to-face with someone to act as a sounding board) check your local library or career center. You are likely to find workshops or even personalized assistance for free. Not to mention that friends, family members, and mentors are generally willing to help as long as you do the heavy lifting.

Add “Always Prepared” to your Prepared Resume

You never know when an amazing new opportunity or career may find you. You will likely need to customize your resume to whatever that role is, so having the bones in place ahead of time makes that process far easier than starting from scratch. If a new function or responsibility is added to your current job, go add it to your resume. In the modern professional world, not being able to create, correctly format, manipulate, and send or upload a rather simple document like a resume is essentially a deal breaker. If the prospect of working with your own resume is at all scary to you, then that is all the more reason to get ahead of things and utilize the tips and tools we have outlined. In today’s hyper competitive job market, don’t let updating your resume be the excuse to miss a potentially life altering opportunity!

Should you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website or call (866)-688-7199 and one of our team members will be happy to hear your thoughts.

Anderson|Biro is a full-service, Executive Search firm dedicated to the Financial Services sector around the country. We source talent to service all aspects of the Land Title Insurance, Settlement, and Appraisal industries. We offer quality solutions for clients in these primary fields and beyond. Our candidates are screened for specific industry experience, outstanding track records, and values that complement your mission and culture. We have also built successful partnerships with leading Homebuilders, iBuyers, Fintech, Servicers, Law Firms, Real Estate Brokerages, and Lenders with direct or indirect stakes around the real estate closing table.