When you’re on the hunt for a new job, your resume is your calling card, so the last thing you want to do is look like you haven’t been keeping up with the times. Although the basics of resume writing have largely remained the same over the years, modern resumes have evolved to cater to technology. It’s amazing what a few tweaks can do to set you apart from all the other applicants sitting in the same stack of resumes.

It’s critical to dedicate a few hours to truly focus on the quality and content of your resume. Most people on the job hunt are busy – with their current work (that they may not enjoy), family, social engagements, etc. Resist the temptation to rush, take short cuts, and simply cut and paste information into a resume without taking the time to think through exactly how you want a company to view you and your achievements.

As an executive recruiter in the Military Transition Division at Lucas Group, I always make sure the candidates I work with use these five modern resume tips to give them an edge.

Include Social Media
Hiring managers now actively check candidates’ social media pages, so the modern resume always includes them. Put the URLs in the header of your resume and skip the “http://” to give it a clean appearance.

If you’ve got a LinkedIn profile, use it. Facebook is typically more focused on your personal life, so don’t include it unless you are a public figure of some sort (newscaster, professor, artist etc.) with a professional page and a following. Whether or not you include your Twitter handle depends on how you use Twitter. If you tweet about your industry and have a substantial number of followers, then absolutely include it – it shows that you’re a respected thought leader. The same goes for Google+. Make a call based on the content of your account and the number of followers you have. It’s overkill to include them all, so be discriminating unless you’re in fields where social media savvy is part of the job description.

Of course, if you’re including your social media accounts, it’s essential that you check each account for its content. Make sure everything is appropriate, up to date, and relevant.

Use Links
One of the advantages of sending resumes out digitally is that you can include hyperlinks. Always, always hyperlink your email address so that the hiring manager is only one click away from contacting you. Also hyperlink your social media accounts.

Within the body of your resume there may be opportunities to hyperlink as well. If you mention a project for which there is a case study online, then absolutely link to it. If you you’re in a profession like advertising or web design, then hyperlink any projects you bring up in your resume. Remember that the reader may not click though, so the text needs to stand on its own as well.

Have a Digital Portfolio if Appropriate
There are quite a few professions in which a resume doesn’t really do your experience justice. In any sort of design or artistic field it’s a given – graphic design, fashion design, interior design, cinematography, creative direction – images are essential to show the work. But it’s also an issue for writers – journalists, academics published in journals, copywriters – and for those in technical fields like engineering and architecture.

A personal website with a portfolio of your work can serve as an extension of your resume. And easy-to-use sites with free templates like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace make them easy to execute. At the bottom of your resume simply include a line like “My online portfolio is available at www.YourNameHere.com. You can also include the link in your header.

Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Keywords
It may seem like a strange concept to use SEO keywords in a resume, but large companies use Applicant Tracking Systems and use searches to find appropriate resumes. Check your resume against the job description. If it says, “Management experience required,” then don’t say you “headed up a team of ten.” Say you “managed” a team of ten because it’s probably a term the hiring manager will use to search resumes.

Keywords are especially important if you’re going into a slightly different field. If you were in strategy consulting but are applying to a job in human resources or technology consulting, it’s essential that the phrase “human resources” or “technology” appears in your resume, ideally in reference to one of your previous projects.

Have Different Versions of Your Resume
You need several different versions of your resume that you’ll use depending on how you are distributing your resume.

  • Email: A beautifully designed PDF (PDFs can be opened by everyone and preserve formatting) complete with hyperlinks.
  • Printed: A beautifully designed PDF without hyperlinks on thick, high quality paper. White, ivory and light gray are always appropriate although some people like to use a color when applying for creative positions or green for eco-friendly jobs.
  • Upload: A basic word document with all fancy formatting, images and hyperlinks taken out. If your standard resume isn’t chronological, make a chronological one. This is the easiest type of document for Applicant Tracking Systems to accurately absorb.

Modernizing your resume lets HR departments and hiring managers go deeper into your background, thus encouraging them to spend more time engaging with your materials. Bottom line, it offers them more opportunities to be blown away by you.

How have you modernized your resume? Share your experiences in the comments.


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