In a Pandemic Economy, an Outdated, Resume Won’t Cut It: Tips to be a Competitive Job Seeker in 2020
In a Pandemic Economy, an Outdated, Resume Won’t Cut It: Tips to be a Competitive Job Seeker in 2020

In a Pandemic Economy, an Outdated, Resume Won’t Cut It: Tips to be a Competitive Job Seeker in 2020

It’s no secret COVID-19 that resulted in an unimaginable blow to the global economy. Millions of jobs were lost; businesses closed their doors, in some cases temporarily, in other instances, for good; and spending was put on hold as workers were furloughed.

While the long-term repercussions of the pandemic remain questionable, one thing remains certain: the job market has changed dramatically.

If you are looking for a job, or know someone else who is, there are few things to consider.

First of all, when was the last time you updated your resume?

If you are like most people, you probably spent several years at the same company, and as a result, didn’t bother keeping your resume up to date.

Resume formats and expectations have changed recently. Don’t “show your age” but taking a resume you wrote while at university and simply adding a few bullet points.  Follow these tips to bring your resume up to 2020 standards:

1. Limit your resume to one page, 2 at the absolute most.

Research shows hiring managers reviewing resumes make a judgment within 6-seconds whether they will immediately put your resume in the discard pile or if they will read further.

During that initial 6-second review, recruiters seldom turn to the second page. Keep your resume as streamlined as possible so the most important information stands out.

While not a hard and fast rule, most resumes should focus on the roles you’ve held in the last 10 years. If you held a job 15 years ago which is particularly relevant to the position to which you are applying, feel free to keep it, but you might want to streamline the description.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you had a position within the last few years which doesn’t add value, you can always delete it, particularly if it makes more sense to dedicate that space to describing a more impressive role.

2. Don’t include a Career Objective section, use a Career Profile instead.

Objectives focus on you and what you want from the company. When you are applying for a job, you are supposed to showcase how hiring you has the potential to benefit the company. Tell HR what you can offer the hiring organization by providing a career profile or summary. The summary is best presented as a short paragraph that highlights your major accomplishments, skills, and experience.

3. There is a 75% chance your resume will never be read by a human.

Many companies receive thousands of resumes each week, yet have relatively small Human Resources Departments to process them. In order to keep the workload manageable for hiring staff, many organisations use applicant tracking systems, or ATS.

More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS to streamline the recruiting process. And over 75% of resumes are NEVER seen by human eyes because they are screened out by ATS.

To pass the ATS review, be sure to use keywords from job postings, use the proper file format when submitting resumes through online portals, and avoid the inclusion of creative elements such as colors, photos, charts, italics, and unusual fonts.

4. Utilize the proper format.

When you were a college student, you were probably taught to put your educational details at the top of the page, perhaps along with your GPA.  That is no longer the norm. GPAs are unnecessary on resumes unless specified on the job posting.

In fact, once you’ve worked in a full-time position after graduation, employers have little interest in your academic credentials. As such, your education should be listed AFTER education.

The current and expected resume format for anyone who is in the workforce is name and contact details at the top in the center. Contact details should include a phone number, email address, and ideally, your LinkedIn URL. Also, you do not need to include your full home address, the city and state are sufficient.

The first major section in a resume should be the Career Profile, followed by Experience, then Education, Additional Training, and finally, Relevant Skills.

5. Demonstrate action, power, and quantify results.

You don’t have to be a wordsmith to present well in a resume, but you do need to put in the effort to use vocabulary and grammar that sells your abilities. Use strong action verbs and descriptive adjectives to establish your credibility. And don’t forget to quantify results. Rather than saying, “Organized a fundraising event for clients,” consider a more impactful statement such as, “Spearheaded the creation and execution of an annual fundraising gala attended by 500 high-profile guests which generated over $300,000 in donations.”

While a job search in 2020 may seem like a daunting task, rest assured, employers are hiring. But they are being more selective and critical of applicants. If you follow the above tips, you should position yourself above many of your competitors. Best of luck!

Published By
Kelly Virginia Phelan (Ph.D., Career Strategist)
Kelly Virginia Phelan, Ph.D. is a Job Interview Coach, Resume Writer, and Career Strategist. She is also the Founder of Winning Six Second Resumes. Visit her social media profiles or contact her on Show more