Career Report
August, 2011 — Issue 138


Updating a Resume for Today’s Job Market

If you haven’t looked for a job in more than 10 years, you need to be aware that a lot has changed regarding résumés. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, many job candidates are no longer simply presenting a Word document of their qualifications; rather, there is a growing trend toward crafting a package both online and off to present to a prospective employer. This typically includes both a résumé and an online profile, along with an easy way for a prospective employer or recruiter to move back and forth between the two.

Indeed, an online networking presence is no longer just an option, but something that is fast becoming a requirement, which needs to be embraced, the article pointed out. In today’s job market, for example, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you don’t exist,” said Wendy Enelow, author of “Expert Résumés for Managers and Executives” and “Best Résumés for $100,000+ Jobs.”

Enelow suggested including live email links on your Microsoft Word résumé and live links to your LinkedIn profile. “Make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to contact you with one click to your email and one click to your LinkedIn profile,” she told the newspaper.

Job candidates shouldn’t make assumptions either regarding online or a hard copy applications. The job market is in a transition stage when it comes to applications and how they are submitted, said Mary Henige, General Motors’ director of social media and digital communications. Therefore, a lot of how you present yourself should depend on the hiring manager’s preference, she said. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s best to cover all bases.

The one-page rule for résumés also no longer holds true, according to Howard Seidel, a partner at Essex Partners, a Boston-based career management firm. “While one page makes sense when you have little experience, it doesn’t make sense when, as a senior executive [or manager], you have 10, 20 or more years of experience,” he said. Candidates with a track record typically do themselves an injustice by keeping the résumé to a page. Seidel suggested expanding to two or three pages but giving the first page enough punch to entice the reader to delve further.

Overused words are out too, the article noted. At first glance, “team player” and “innovative” might sound like good words to use on your résumé, but that would be a mistake, according to Krista Canfield, a spokesperson for LinkedIn. The business networking site recently combed through millions of user profiles and came up with a list of the top 10 overused terms. These included innovative, dynamic, motivated, extensive experience, results-oriented, proven track record, team player, fast-paced, problem solver, and entrepreneurial.

“Your online profile is a valuable piece of professional real estate,” Canfield told The Wall Street Journal. “The problem with using generic words and phrases in your profile and résumé is that hundreds, if not thousands, of other professionals are describing themselves the exact same way.” She suggested replacing the overused terms with descriptions of those specific projects that you have worked on, which resulted in concrete results for your clients.

And even with the explosion of email over the last decade, looks still matter when it comes to résumés, said Seidel. In some ways, they are even more important than ever. “In addition to information overload, many employers experience résumé overload,” he said. “If an employer or a recruiter is seeking you out because of a reputation, the résumé’s appearance may not matter. If you are seeking out an employer’s attention, its appearance often does matter.”

One thing that has not changed, though, is employers scanning résumés rather than reading them word-for-word, says Kathryn Ullrich, an executive career consultant in Silicon Valley and author of “Getting to the Top: Strategies for Career Success.” To differentiate yourself from the pack, broadcast your brand. One way to do this, said Ullrich, is to replace an old-school phrase like “summary” at the top of your résumé with your brand: “social media marketing” or “finance director, software,” for example. “Invite a longer, deeper look at your résumé by making your brand stand out,” she said.

News from BLK

Bob Larson, CPC, President of Berman Larson Kane is pleased to announce that BLK has again received the prestigious NAPS Robert P. Style Firm Accredited Firm (“NAF”). In order to be recertified for the 4th consecutive year, Berman Larson Kane passed a set of standards including, education, individual certifications, and commitment to the industry and to the business community. I am very proud of our BLK Team for continuing to demonstrate such a professional commitment to the staffing industry.

Berman Larson Kane will be hosting PHR training meetings for the Bergen/Rockland SHRM chapter. If you are interested in obtaining your PHR, click herefor additional details. Classes are scheduled to start in September.