21 Resume Tips For 2021!

With every new year, it seems that there’s new things to think about when it comes to even the most basic job search elements. And 2021 is no different.

That’s why we’re going to take some time to go over 21 resume and cover letter essentials that you need to know in ‘21!

By following these strategies, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in any job search. Because having the right resume is part of being ready to reach for any opportunity that comes your way!

Let’s go!

1. Understand your resume’s role

Your resume is a data sheet that recruiters use to filter candidates. They screen out the majority of candidates whose resumes don’t match job keywords, requirements, and even management’s personal preferences.

Resumes are rarely read in their entirety, only scanned for a few moments. So remember its role is to show how well you align in the smallest amount of time.

2. Cater to humans AND bots

Too many people think their resume doesn’t need to impress people because its main purpose is to get past “Applicant Tracking System” software (bots that weed out resumes which seem unrelated to the job requirements).

But the truth is, there can still be several layers of human readers who will filter out resumes, and if yours doesn’t appeal to them, then you’ll be one of the ones that gets filtered!

3. Specify your target

You can’t focus your resume towards one type of job if you don’t know what your ideal job type is.

Take some time to decide what job and career you’re aiming for, so you can line up your sights.

4. Make your resume ATS-friendly

Some quick tips on beating the bots:

  • An ATS doesn’t care if certain text is bold/underlined/italicized/coloured
  • An ATS doesn’t see photos
  • An ATS struggles with reading from columns
  • An ATS reads Word Docs easier than it reads PDFs

5. Be conservative with colour

We’re not saying to not use colour at all — colour psychology is a great way to make subtle statements to your audience.

Just don’t turn your page into a palette, with too many confusing colour schemes that distract from the message.

6. Link your LinkedIn

They’re going to look you up online anyways, so make it easy for them by including a link to your professional profile.

7. Focus on the last 15 years

Keep your resume recent. This avoids issues with agism, over-qualification, and the relevancy of your resume items.

8. Pay attention to job postings

When a job posting speaks, your resume should answer.

Make sure you include items which pertain to what the employer is saying they’re looking for, and exclude irrelevant details. They are literally telling you what they want to hear.

9. Prioritize job posting requirements

Job postings can get quite lengthy and verbose when it comes to describing their ideal candidate. You may not be able to speak to everything they’re requesting in your resume.

But you can identify the top 8-10 skills and make sure your resume highlights how you have them.

10. Share the company’s vision

It’s important that you understand the company mission and vision before you apply. Not just to protect yourself from a bad fit, but so that you can showcase on your resume how you’ll be a great fit for the team.

11. Create a value statement

Stop putting your employment objective or a summary statement at the start of your resume.

Instead, have a tagline that says what unique thing you can offer and how it brings value to the employer.

12. Make your experience easy to read

We know that the average recruiter only spends a few seconds with each resume while shortlisting their candidates. So if they can’t skim through your experience and understand it easily, then they’ll ignore it — and ignore you.

13. Copy keywords

Describe your previous jobs by using keywords that the employer uses to describe this current job in the job posting.

14. Tell a story

Don’t just list your skills. Sell the story of how you proved them — talk about a result you achieved for a previous employer and how you achieved it.

15. Use the pandemic as a plus

If you’re worried about an employment gap caused by COVID, then fill that space with what you did to keep your professional skills sharp (or to develop new ones)! Everyone has some examples of their flexibility and adaptability from the past year.

16. Call out your contributions

You shouldn’t talk about your personal achievements, unless it’s in the context of how you contributed to a company’s achievement. This is because employers aren’t interested in you, they’re interested in what you can do for their business.

17. Streamline your timeline

Take out short stints that suggest you’re a job-hopper. You can summarize your transferable skills from these in a brief “additional experience” section later without needing to affect your timeline.

18. Don’t make it about age

Steer focus to your qualifications, not your age. You can do this by removing dates from your education history (unless you’re a recent college grad), and swapping out any outdated tools and skills (like your @aol.com email, or your proficiency with MS-DOS).

19. Experience over education

Only list your education history as it pertains to the job requirements. Going into detail about your schooling above and beyond what they’re asking is a waste of precious space on your resume. Space which could otherwise be used to show off your practical experience.

20. Proofread your resume

The staggering number of people who miss this simple step would astound you. Don’t be one of them. Review and edit your resume for typos, formatting errors, or whatever issues you can see. And it never hurts to get a second pair of eyes to look things over for you.

21. Give your resume regular updates

No, it’s not a one-and-done document. You need to revisit your resume on the regular to make sure it’s looking fresh. Plus, you’re developing all the time, why shouldn’t your resume?