Be compelling and concise in your resume, use industry keywords, and focus on results
Job seeking—like so many things—is becoming both more automated and more personal. Candidates should be prepared to create personable, visually appealing resumes that are mobile-friendly and brimming with terms related to their industry.
Of course, the employment landscape is constantly in flux, and employers’ needs have shifted with the economic climate, job market, and pandemic trends. But there are ways to become the top candidate with a bit of effort and ingenuity.
Research, research, research.
To set yourself apart, customize your resume for the position and company you are applying with. There are simple ways to learn more about the company you are interested in:
- Interview someone who has worked for or is currently at the company.
- Browse the company’s website and social media sites to understand its focus and goals.
- Check company ranking sites like Glassdoor to learn the key areas of interest for your target employer and incorporate that into your resume or cover letter.
In many ways, however, resumes haven’t changed at all in the last 50 years. The best resume is a high-level snapshot of your wins and upward career trajectory. It will shine a positive light on your skills and describe how you helped your former employers meet their goals.
Job Jumping could hold you back.
Employers are starting to negatively view those candidates who have excessive job jumping on their resumes. If you seek variety, flexibility, and multiple opportunities to hone and advance your skills, Semper provides this. We are that single employer that allows talent to move from client to client, building up your resume and equipment experience as well as increasing your value. Candidates who seek direct hire will need to explain why they are jumping. If it is just for money, companies will often reject your application.
At the same time, the rise of remote working and the digital nomad lifestyle has job seekers talking about their skills in a different way. A list of day-to-day responsibilities is far less compelling than a well-crafted story about how you helped your employer achieve an important win despite challenges and individual conditions.
If you were left with a gap in your resume due to the pandemic, find ways to talk about how you upskilled in your field, polished up your social media presence, or pivoted to a new industry.
Here are some specific tips for writing your resume—and telling your story—in 2022 that will land you the job or career of your dreams.
Tell a SMART story.
Heard of SMART goals? Use SMART statements to describe your big wins and initiatives and to help craft your “career story,” says Job Coach and Resume Writer Adrienne Tom. A SMART statement is Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Results-Oriented, and Time-Bound.
An example from a department manager’s resume might be: “I decreased downtime on my shift by 10% year over year by implementing regular employee one-to-one meetings to develop, track, and measure individual worker goals and address challenges.”
Be sure the statement is something that you can show or elaborate on in an interview and that your supervisor or another reference would be able to corroborate.
List your specific skills and equipment…
Especially in the print and graphics industry, experience with specific machines, presses, software, or processes is highly valued. If you have offset press experience working on a Heidelberg, Ryobi, Komori, Harris, and so on, list them by name. If you have digital or specialty printing experience, list the embellishments you used or the digital presses you trained on. If you spent time in a bindery or processing shipments and deliveries, list the machines you used and the tasks you mastered. Search for and understand the equipment your target employer has or looks to expand into, and highlight your experience on those machines to increase your odds for a successful match.
…but don’t leave out soft skills.
If you are trying to move into a different field or up within your current industry, talking about “soft skills” is very important. Soft skills are those that are transferable from one position to another, from one field or another. They are sometimes thought of as character traits. Still, transferable skills like leadership, patience, clear communication, and flexibility can be learned, measured, and demonstrated, and they deserve a prominent place in your resume.
Take the list below as a jumping-off point, and consider where these soft skills fit into your career story. Like with SMART statements, find ways to tell stories that demonstrate your soft skills with hard facts.
- Critical thinking
- Learning quickly
- Strategic thinking
- Communication skills
- Time management skills
Become an SEO expert – on you.
For better or worse, automated hiring is here to stay. According to a new report by Grand View Research, the global “applicant tracking system (ATS)” market size is expected to reach $3.71 billion by 2030, growing at a rate of 6.2% from 2022 to 2030. ATS software automates and monitors staffing and recruiting operations. It is a central source of candidate information, allowing recruiters to streamline recruiting by filtering candidates. It helps organize interviews, manage documentation digitally, send rejection letters, and reduce workload.
From an employer standpoint, ATS is a tool that makes the hiring process more efficient and targeted. From the job seeker’s perspective, it can feel like a faceless game.
But candidates can do a few very simple and specific things to make their resume more appealing to an automated system.
- Use keywords specific to your industry, and mimic those used in the job description. Also, use synonyms for those words and commonly used acronyms.
- Tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying to. One resume does not fit all.
- Update and professionalize any online presence you have. Some ATSs will search social media for red flags or reasons to hire you.
- Keep your formatting clean and screen friendly. No tables, columns, or images, please.
In short, sell yourself with a mix of hard and soft skills using compelling storytelling and measurable results. But don’t forget to have an ATS-optimized version of your resume that you can tailor to the specific job you want.
We help you find meaningful work that fits your life and jumpstarts your career. It’s the core of our business as the specialty staffing partner to the print, packaging, and graphic communications industries. Find a job today.