Welcome to 2020! Is one of your priorities at the beginning of the new decade to update your resumé
and land a new job or promotion? Are you ready to refresh your resumé, but unsure where/how to
If you are sending your resumé out and not getting invitations to interview –
PLEASE KEEP READING!
Don’t feel alone. Many professionals are in the same boat – and it seems everyone has an opinion on
what to include and leave out of a resumé. But I’m dwindling my suggestions down to three areas to
provide immediate impact!
1. ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems)
Clients often ask, “Can you make sure my resumé works for ATS?” My answer, of course, is a resounding
yes! But let’s be honest for a minute… Is ATS just another acronym we pretend to understand? Do you
know what you are asking for when you ask if your resumé is ATS applicable? What is ATS?
First a disclaimer. For those of you reading this working in HR, I know you are all too familiar with the
various ATS systems and how they work. For the rest of us, that’s right — there is more than one ATS
program. ATS stands for Applicant Tracking Software. It is an automated way to create a candidate
profile and rank candidates for fit. If the resumé cannot be fully read due to format, the profile will be
marked incomplete and will not move forward in the screening process. ATS will also rank each
candidate based on keywords and use of those words within the resumé.
Let’s start with how to ensure your resumé is compatible with ATS. First, make sure you provide your
resumé in Microsoft Word format. ATS cannot scan pdf format. Second, utilizing tables, charts and fancy
bullets may look appealing (not in this resumé writer’s opinion, unless you are applying for a graphic
design position or if you’re C-level and providing separate and supplemental charts), but ATS systems
cannot scan them. What’s worse, any information inside the tables or charts will be erased. In short, no-
one will ever see those wonderful accomplishments that you tried to emphasize. This doesn’t mean you
can’t have a great resumé format. Stick with nice, clean lines and the standard bullet points. Let the
writing/content do the work for you.
Next, let’s move on to the keywords. ATS scans a resumé for keywords that match the job description,
standard duties and industry, and then ranks the candidate for compatibility. It is essential to have the
current keywords. For example, client relationship management is used, but your resumé says customer
management, you will miss out even though the terms are interchangeable. At the same time, don’t fill
your resumé with keywords and then forget to back up your proficiency with concrete details and strong
verbiage supporting the keywords you used. The bottom line: do your research before applying to an
organization and make sure you are not missing keywords for the position. Compare your resumé with
the job description and if you notice the description uses a different synonym for the same term in your
resumé, make the appropriate change.
2. Quantify Your Accomplishments
The main difference between a duty driven resumé and an accomplishment driven resumé is the ability
to quantify what you’ve done. It is one thing to say you have cross-functional leadership skills and quite
another to prove it. Instead, turn your duty into an accomplishment by stating, “Spearheaded creation
and implementation of the company employer board through cross-functional communication skills.”
By describing a specific instance where you utilized your cross-functional skills, you now have shown
that you communicate well and are able to accomplish quantifiable goals with your skill set.
Using numbers and percentages
The “before” sentence: Created sales strategy, which tapped a new market to exceed quarterly goals.
The “after” sentence: Developed and Implemented an enterprise-wide business strategy which tapped
an unrealized referral market and exceeded the quarterly referral partnership goal by 130 percent.
The quarterly goal for my client was 10 referrals and she averaged 13 referrals. I turned the number into
a percentage and determined the percentage was more impressive than the number. When my client
applies to major corporations, she needs to impress without giving preconceived notions as to the
volume of referrals she can handle.
In the current job market, numbers add the final touch and can take your resumé from standard to
3. Transferable Skills
What is a transferable skill? According to the career advice blog from indeed.com, “Transferable skills
are any skills you possess that are useful to employers across various jobs and industries. These might
include skills like adaptability, organization, teamwork or other qualities employers seek in strong
candidates. Transferable skills can be used to position your past experience when applying for a new
job—especially if it’s in a different industry.”
What are employers looking for on your resumé? Employers want you to explain how your skill will
benefit their need. Review the job description and create bullets for your resumé that show you
accomplishing these desired skills.
A common transferable skill for teachers is Creating Curriculum or Lesson Plans. Change this to
Instructional Design and you have a transferable skill for many industries. Remember your resumé is an
extended business card. If you list Written Communication as an “Area of Expertise” then use your
resumé to highlight your skill!
Most professionals do not know how to write or discuss their transferable skills. Are you one to these
professionals? Let’s change that!
Next week kicks off the 4-week series on Transferable Skills. We will cover the following topics
Here’s what I will discuss:
01/14/2020 – What are transferable skills and how to determine your transferable skills
01/21/2020 – Top Soft Skills /Top Hard Skills. And examples of how they transfer between industries
01/28/2020 – How to display your transferable skills on your resumé
02/04/2020 – How to discuss your transferable skills in your interview
For more information watch my recorded live stream episode 3 Tips to Execute a Successful Job Search
in 2020 appearance with host Mary Fain Brandt where we explored these topics in detail.
Until next Tuesday…