Your first point of contact with any recruiter or hiring manager is your resume, so it’s essential that it stands out and follows recent trends in what employers are looking for.
Today, a resume does not land directly on a recruiter’s desk. First, it must pass through an automated system and other mediums.
Candidates with strong professional careers and qualifications can miss out if they don’t craft a resume that’s targeted at all four audiences — the screener, recruiter, future boss, and applicant tracking system (ATS).
We’ve put together five trends you need to keep in mind while crafting your best resume for 2023.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Resumes must be optimized for AI
Almost every major company today uses an ATS to sift through the hundreds of resumes they receive. Research shows that 99% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS, and their use is expected to become even more widespread in 2023.
Craft a resume that appeals to both human and AI-driven audiences, or else you may find it difficult to land an interview.
Automatic parsers will index your resume based on the keywords you include. ATSs are software applications that scan indexed resumes and job applications for relevant keywords related to your educational background, skills, past job titles, and so on. For your resume to be indexed and recalled properly, it needs to be formatted correctly and include the right keywords.
Put your contact information at the top of the first page. This includes your name, address, phone number, and email address. This tells the parser that it is looking at a resume and starting in the right place. Also, city and state names are valuable keywords for recruiters searching for candidates in specific regions.
Put your professional headline in bold and ALL CAPS and center it, as these things will help it stand out to the AI.
Don’t separate headings with a space between each letter for aesthetic effect. It may look appealing to human eyes, but AI won’t know what to do with it.
Avoid the temptation of using graphics or images of any kind. The AI will have trouble scanning it or ignore it completely, and it takes up valuable space that could be used to include more keywords.
Instead, stick to simple bullet points and leave off graphical elements like charts, infographics, and headshots.
2. Simple resume formats trump fancy resumes
Using a fancy resume format may be a satisfying form of creative expression, but it will hurt your chances of landing your next job.
Even if you’re a designer or an animator, having a fancy resume may cause more damage than good because vital information that should be easy to spot might get covered or masked with other less important information.
You may feel that a traditional resume format is too boring for you, but in 2023 a simple resume format will give you the opportunity to highlight all the prominent keywords, qualifications, and information you require to outshine the rest of the applicants.
Putting your name or prominent skill on a funky piece of clip art might make your resume more colorful, but the ATS will not be able to recognize it and your human audiences likely will not be impressed either. And in the U.S., including a headshot is not expected. The parser and ATS will ignore it, and it won’t give your human audiences important information either.
3. Skill gaps in the market can be identified using job ads
You may have skill gaps that you aren’t aware of, and they may be preventing you from getting promoted or finding a better job. There’s an easy way to determine what they are.
Whether you are scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or any other social media application, you won’t be able to run away from ads. Instead of getting irritated by them, you can use them to generate an understanding of skill gaps in the market.
Let’s assume you are scrolling through TikTok and you spot three consecutive ads asking everyone with good writing skills to apply to lucrative part-time jobs to make some extra cash on the side.
This means there is a rising need for writers and creatives in the market who can spin a good story or string words into proper sentences.
If you are planning to acquire new skills or break into a particular industry, this can help you understand what skills are in demand and you can begin to pursue them.
By filling these skill gaps, you can put yourself in a better position to identify which skills the recruiters are looking for.
You can then mention those skills in your professional summary, where the recruiter will see it while skimming your resume.
4. Dynamic language and quantifiable achievements are key
While job-specific keywords ensure that the parser indexes your resume properly and that the ATS sends it to the right recruiters, you should also focus on language that would impress your human audiences, like a recruiter or hiring manager.This doesn’t mean using flowery language or big words, so you can put the thesaurus down.
It simply means using the right words.
While for decades people have used active verbs like “managed,” “performed,” and “conducted” on their resumes, these boring verbs are growing outdated. Instead, success verbs like “exceeded,” “accelerated,” and “optimized” are a more powerful option in 2023. This is because success verbs demonstrate a successful outcome due to your intervention or presence.
Use success verbs and numerical values in each bullet point in your work history section to show recruiters and hiring managers how your professional accomplishments impacted your former employers in a positive, quantifiable way. Here’s a list of 25 success verbs you can use in your work history section.
A carefully selected adjective is also important in your professional headline, which sums you up professionally in three or four words. Your headline includes a job title that tells the recruiter where you are in your career and a flattering adjective that explains your approach to that role or some other attribute. For example, “Strategic Chief Executive Officer” or “Proven Project Architect.”
These adjectives may also grab a recruiter’s attention and make you more memorable to them.
5. Tailoring your resume to each job application gives you an edge
In the past, it was common to pile your entire work history, all of your skills, and everything you’ve ever done professionally into a multi-page paper document that you kept copies of in a briefcase and physically handed to businesses up and down the street.
While the transition to digital portals for applicants is old news, many job seekers are still pouring everything they can think of onto their resume in hopes that something will impress someone, somewhere, somehow.
In 2023, not every achievement, skill, or aspect of your job history needs to be on your resume. Only include details that are relevant to the job you’re applying for today. Do this for each job you apply for. Even if it’s the same job at the same company you applied for a few months back, go through your resume again to make sure it’s perfectly customized to the exact job posting you’re hoping to fill.
Your resume is not simply a list of information. It’s a pitch that shows the recruiter why you’re the most qualified person for the job.
Overcrowding your resume with information that’s irrelevant to the job posting can get your resume indexed incorrectly by the parser and make it show up repeatedly for unrelated jobs when the recruiter conducts ATS searches. This can annoy the recruiter and lead to your resume getting trashed. None of this will help you get hired.
To ensure this does not happen, research the job position and some information about the company and assess what kind of skills they’re looking for. Ensure your resume answers every aspect of the job posting, so recruiters and hiring managers will see that you have all the requirements to do the job well.
In addition to the hard skills they’re looking for, you can get a good idea of the soft skills they’re seeking based on company values, objectives, and culture. You can research this by clicking through their website, following them on social media, and searching for recent news articles about innovations, new products, mergers, scandals, etc.
Once you have a better understanding of the open position and the company where you want to work, you can identify which skills you have and which you may need to acquire to be a frontrunning candidate.
Resume best practices to follow in 2023 and beyond
While following the current resume trends, keep these best practices in mind to ensure you’re crafting a resume that converts.
1. Instead of listing achievements, show results
Many candidates make the mistake of dumping a list of skills and job responsibilities into their work history section, rather than showing the quantifiable positive effects their achievements had for their employer.
Instead of handing your resume audiences an info dump, craft a pitch that shows them why you are the best candidate for the job.
The bullet points in your work history section clearly demonstrate how you solved previous problems, overcame adverse situations, and benefitted your employer.
This will give recruiters and hiring managers an idea of how you can be beneficial to your next employer. Once they grasp your on-field importance, you have a better chance of being invited for an interview.
2. Keep your resume concise
If you’re fewer than 10 years into your career, your resume should be one page. While you can increase it to two pages if you have more than a decade of experience, it isn’t always best to do so. You’ll have only a few seconds of the recruiter’s attention, so showing them everything they need to see in one page increases the odds that they’ll see the most important things.
For a one-page resume, you can use 10-15 bullet points in your work history section to describe your professional accomplishments. If you use a two-page resume, you can include up to 25 bullet points.
You may have learned a lot in your career, but understanding what information to include and what to omit is an important skill in itself.
Keeping your resume short and concise not only helps ensure recruiters and hiring managers will notice the most important information, but it also shows confidence and that you have the intuition and logical thinking ability to craft a narrative your audiences will want to see.
This will help your resume stand out. If it seems like you know what you are doing on paper, it will definitely give a good impression to your recruiter.
3. Articulate your emotional intelligence
While listing hard skills in your professional summary tells recruiters you can do the job in theory, soft skills like communication, teamwork, time management, and adaptability let them know you’ll have the ability to excel at their company.
The soft skills you include will indicate whether you’d be a good cultural and team fit. They also tell a lot about how you handle pressure and how you interact in your workspace.
Remember, soft skills are the core skills in any profession. It’s true that closing the most sales on your old team gives a promising impression of what you can do for the company. But indicating you can work well with others, maintain high ethical standards, and be a reliable employee will give you an edge over equally talented competitors with underdeveloped soft skills.
4. Always double-check your resume before sending it
This is a simple but important rule because the last thing you want is for your resume to be rejected because of an error that could have been avoided.
Checking and rechecking your resume is never a waste of time as it allows you to identify weaknesses, inconsistencies, and typos your eyes may have skipped over the last time you read it.
Submitting a resume with errors and mistakes will never reflect well on you. Whether these are misused commas, work history years that don’t add up, or misremembered job titles or educational certificates — all of these put you in peril of missing out on a great opportunity.
Grammatical errors and typing mistakes may give the recruiter a negative impression of your level of intelligence and attention to detail. And listing degrees, certifications, job titles, and company names with unofficial wording and spelling can make them suspect you’re trying to inflate your credentials.
Also, spending valuable resume space highlighting information that isn’t relevant to the job you are applying for, or organizing information without a logical progression, makes your resume less effective. Let your resume “cool off” for a few hours and then go back to it. Repeat readings with fresh eyes will help you spot these things, correct them, and make your resume stronger.
5. Cast gaps in your work history in a positive light
With the Great Resignation and the prevalent job-hopping culture, hiring managers want to see resumes that showcase a steady work history. Replacing employees is expensive.
Recruiters are looking for signs that a candidate will stay with the company for at least a few years before beginning to look for a job someplace else.
If you’ve hopped from one job to the next multiple times in your career, portray this as a progression of growth. For example, you may have reached the saturation point in your previous job and there was no room for further growth, and you’re pursuing this current job because it will challenge you to further develop yourself.
If you have gaps in your work history, there are ways to show them in a positive light. For example, if you took a year off from work to pursue art, travel, writing, or simply to develop a new skill, you can show what you learned from these experiences and point to how that will help you in the job you’re applying for today.
Some of this can be conveyed with your resume, but be prepared to discuss these things further if you’re called in for an interview.
If you were fired from your previous job, resigned so you could raise a family, or retired, list accomplishments you made while you were out of the workforce. You may have been serving as a consultant, volunteering, pursuing a hobby or educational advancement, or simply running a household. Find ways to present these as quantifiable achievements the same way you’d list any work success.
The idea is to make it clear that you were not idle during the gap in your work. Instead, you were busy working on your own personal projects, taking new courses, and acquiring new skills. Show that you’ve been learning and keeping up with your industry while you’ve been away.
While a gap will never look good on your resume, you can show recruiters that you’re energized, capable, and ready to get back to work.
Resume trends are always evolving. Using keywords to optimize for new technology, abandoning eye-catching graphics for simple but effective text, leveraging social media to identify skill gaps, updating your language, and crafting unique resumes for specific jobs will help you stand above your competition.
The job market is highly competitive, and elevating your resume gives you an edge that can make the difference when trying to land your next job.
Follow these trends and the tips we mentioned above and start crafting a winning resume. Contact us and we’ll help.