Here’s What Your Résumé Should Look Like in 2018

No, the résumé isn’t dead! Certified résumé writer Lisa Rangel gives us the lowdown on why it’s still important to keep the document updated and at the ready.

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Contrary to what some of you may believe, résumés are not even close to being dead! The document is as important now as it has ever been, says Lisa Rangel, a 10-time certified résumé writer with New York’s Chameleon Résumés. While social media can give employers a quick look at an applicant’s skills, the résumé is still a necessary element of the job application process. Rangel explains why and gives BizPhilly her best tips and tricks for crafting a résumé in 2018.

Lisa Rangel, managing director, Chameleon Résumés. Courtesy photo.

Résumés Still Matter

Résumés are marketing tools that are “supposed to sell you,” says Rangel. They highlight one’s professional, and possibly personal, successes to portray them as the best candidate for a job.

“The process of doing a résumé is a process of developing your achievements,” said Rangel. “Cherry-picking what is important for what you want to do is helpful because it helps you to interview better as well.”

When an employer is presented with a résumé prior to an interview, they already have an understanding of the person they will be interviewing. Establishing a professional platform through a résumé only benefits a person by keeping them primed and prepared for what may come their way.

Keep the Most Relevant Information Relevant

People enjoy bragging about themselves, says Rangel, whether they like to admit it or not. They find pleasure in having a skill that another person may not have, or having experienced something that someone else didn’t have the chance to. However, not every single life experience, or learned skill for that matter, should be included on a résumé. “It’s not a biographical account of everything you’ve ever done,” said Rangel.

With that in mind, when formatting a résumé, it’s important to keep the most relevant information, well, relevant.

For young professionals entering the working world, once they’ve graduated college, they should include information from their most recent and relevant experiences on their résumé. “I’ve found that in writing young professionals’ résumés, including things from college, or even from high school, can give the impression that they’ve been working for 14 years,” says Rangel. More often than not, the typical college graduate has not been working for more than half of their life, so they shouldn’t make it seem like they have.

To older job hunters, it’s important to try to not include every single life experience or skill. “We typically don’t go back more than 15 to 20 years on a résumé,” says Rangel. However, she does suggest that if someone wants to refer back to a skill they obtained 30 years ago, that person may be more qualified because that skill can prove to still be relevant. And focus less on the length of the résumé, says Rangel and more on including the information that needs to be there.

Get Rid of Those Objective Statements

Rangel advises that you include a summary statement on your résumé as opposed to objectives:

“Objectives typically focus on what the candidate is seeking—and to be blunt, employers don’t solely care about what candidates are seeking. Objectives are a dated practice. Summaries, instead, allow the candidate to connect the dots to what they can do for the employer and meet the employer’s need to either capitalize on an opportunity or turnaround a challenge.”

Résumés Should Look the Part

Once you’ve decided on the information that will be included on your résumé, it is crucial that it is properly organized. Sometimes a poorly formatted résumé may not be processed in an applicant tracking system, so there’s no chance of being hired. “Formatting and layout are important,” Rangel told Philly Mag. “They can make it easier for the reader to read [the résumé].” The goal here is to make the résumé appealing, while also effective in the way that it can help you get a job.

Résumés should be listed in an “achievement-like manner,” with items organized in reverse chronological format. It’s best to stick to black ink on a white background, though modest colors are acceptable. Your name and contact information should be at the top. Skills should be listed at the top of the résumé followed by experience. Education should be listed at the bottom of the document.

Résumé formatting can also vary by industry. Job seekers in the marketing field should create a résumé that speaks to the fact that they’re a marketer and someone in finance should have a résumé that’s more clean-cut, “glossy and conservative,” says Rangel. Graphic designers, for example, should include links to their portfolio on their résumé.

Update Your Résumé Every Three to Six Months

No one wants to forget about life experiences such as birthdays, graduations, vacations, or anything of paramount importance. So, to remember these events, people take pictures, or maybe keep journals, to reminisce. The same should go for career-based events and experiences when working on a résumé.

“Keeping an achievement log at your desk, or on your phone, by updating little things that you do every week, every two weeks, or every month helps when you get to a point where you need to update your résumé,” said Rangel. “If you write down what you do in a week, it’s just going to help you later on.”

A lot can happen in a day, a week, or a month when working. You could get a promotion, apply for the open spot that was just offered from you dream job, or maybe attend a professional conference and meet some notable people. “Trying to keep [the résumé] updated every three to six months is a worthy goal,” said Rangel. This span of time allows space for the changing of events and experiences to then update a résumé.

Your LinkedIn Profile and Résumé Should Be Complementary

We’re moving into a digital age where information is more accessible online than in print. Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook make it easy for people to look someone up and instantly know a lot about their personal and professional life just from their posts. LinkedIn is the one social media platform that should be strictly professional, says Rangel. There are often parallels between a résumé and LinkedIn profile because the purpose of both is to promote your skills and accomplishments; therefore, the two should complement one another.

“You don’t want someone to look at your résumé and then look you up on LinkedIn to see that you’re portraying yourself as a different person,” Rangel said. Transparency, in this case, is necessary — especially when employers always have their eyes open.

Network to Boost Your Job Search

Beyond the résumé, it’s still necessary to keep a professional in-person appearance when searching for a job. Making connections and networking has proven to be essential in the hiring process, and “whether you are reaching out to first-degree connections, second- and third-degree connections, or even cold connections, do not depend fully on a job board,” said Rangel. Growing your circle of influential people can only benefit you in the long run. And if you have a résumé on hand, they may pass it along if they find you to be qualified for a certain position, says Rangel. “It’s all about promoting yourself.”

Here are two résumé samples from Chameleon Résumés: