As a career advisor, job seekers turn to you for resume tips that will help them stand out to employers. The challenge comes in staying ahead of the resume trends so your advice isn't the same thing every other young professional is being told. That'll just lead to your job seekers writing a new, but still unremarkable resume.
This creates a delicate balance between what makes a resume boring and what takes it over the top. Sticking to the same old guidelines creates formulaic resumes, but new fads can make them flashy and unprofessional.
So how do you know what's good advice and what's not?
Here are five simple resume tips that will help your job seekers write professional and noteworthy resumes:
1. Limit the use of buzzwords
Young adults tend to load their resumes up with industry buzzwords to make themselves appear more professional. But most of the time there's no value in these words. For instance, buzzwords and phrases like "proactive," "team player" and "detail-oriented" are so overused, they hold little meaning for hiring managers and recruiters anymore.
If you're unsure what constitutes a buzzword, ask yourself if the phrase would interest an employer or if it's something job seekers think employers want to read. When the answer is the latter, it's best to find a new way to word the information trying to be conveyed.
2. Know which skills to keep and which to remove
Many times, skills that were once in high-demand become so common that employers begin to expect all job seekers to possess them. For example, fifteen years ago, having a high level of proficiency with the Microsoft Office suite gave candidates a big advantage. But now most young professionals grew up using that software.
The skill is no longer a bonus to have, but a prerequisite for most positions. Continuing to list it on a resume is a waste of space that could be filled with more valuable skills.
On the other hand, there are some skills that you'd assume everyone has, but that companies are desperate to find in potential employees. You'd think every job seeker has communication skills -- most of us learn to talk as toddlers -- but a 2015 Burning Glass survey found that communication skills topped the list of desired skills in 14 different industries.
Also, know that soft skills are becoming increasingly important to employers. So pay attention to the tone or connotation of resume wording -- it might be giving hiring managers the wrong idea about your job seekers personality or attitude.
3. Harness the power of links
You can only fit so much on a single sheet of paper. However, most resumes are now sent out electronically, instead of on printed paper. This gives your job seekers the chance to provide even more information about their skill set via links.
Now, employers often check out candidates on social media. By including links to a job seeker's LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles, employers can get a better picture of who he or she really is.
Links to examples of past work also gives employers concrete proof of what your job seekers are capable of. They can read the past experience on the resume and then see evidence of how well they perform. By having your job seeker provide easy access to this type of information, employers can be more confident that hiring them will work out well.
4. Recognize when visuals are distracting
The content of a great resume should stand on its own. That being said, an appropriate graphic can add something special to a job seeker's resume. The trick is knowing when a visual is supporting a resume and when it's distracting.
For example, including a graph showing improved brand awareness during your job seeker's time with their previous company backs up a claim like "created a successful social media campaign."
If a resume is loaded with graphics, however, it can be difficult for employers to digest all the information. They might also begin to think that the candidate is trying to hide something behind all those pretty pictures.
5. Be wary of the "perfect" resume
A 2014 CareerBuilder survey found that 58 percent of employers had spotted a lie on a resume. Just like a hiring manager would be, you need to be cautious if your job seeker writes a resume that seems too good to be true.
Although job seekers may not mean to be downright dishonest, they might feel pressure to stretch the truth. And you're the last person who can reinforce the importance of their honesty before they get caught in little lies by a potential employer. Make your job seekers aware of the types of fibs or embellishments that might hurt their chances of landing or keeping a job.
Your job seekers turn to you for the best resume tips. It's up to you, as a career advisor, to support them with the most current and relevant pieces of advice.
What other resume tips will help job seekers stand out in a good way? Share in the comments!
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.