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  • Writer's pictureJay Metcalf

2022 Resume Guide, Part 1: Content

Updated: May 22, 2023

It’s 2022 and it’s time to update your resume! Whether you are searching today or not, it’s always a good idea to have your resume updated so you never miss out on an opportunity. LX Recruit wanted to put together an updated resume guide to help you hone in on a polished resume. As always, if you want a professional recruiter to take a look at your resume, get in touch with us!

This guide will be divided into 2 parts. The first part is the content. What should be there and what shouldn’t, who are you talking to, and what is the purpose of the resume. The second part is the technical stuff like what format should you use and is PDF OK or should you use Word.

Let’s jump right in. The purpose of a resume is to convince the reader that they should talk to you directly to find out more. Typically, a resume has just over 7 seconds to do its job. That’s it. Because of this, you need to be strategic about how you are going to spend those 7 seconds. We will talk a little more about this in part 2 on the technical stuff, but in terms of content it means that you need to choose carefully what you are going to say and get to the point.

To accomplish this, it’s good to think of a resume like a travel brochure as opposed to a diary or journal of everything you’ve ever done in your career. The goal, as stated above, is to get in front of the recruiters and hiring managers in person, on the phone, by Zoom, etc. A destination travel brochure is going to show pictures of the drinks in coconuts with pink umbrellas, the neatly folded towels, the beautiful views. It’s not going to list out every step to checking in along with a roster of every person who works at the resort. You don’t care about that level of detail and that won’t entice you to spend your money and visit. Resumes serve a similar function. They are your marketing materials to entice interviewers to have a visit with you.

Within any organization, there are at least 2 distinct sets of eyes that will be looking at your resume. The first line will be recruiters, HR coordinators/managers, and everyone in administrative roles. In general, people in these roles are looking for keywords and aren’t directly affected by the position remaining open. They will have varying levels of understanding of what is needed for the role, and function as an initial screen based on a set of criteria and/or a ‘gut feel’ for the resume. For screeners at this level, keywords are king!

The second type of resume reader is the hiring manager. People in these roles are more likely to be directly affected by the opening. If there is an accountant missing, the accounting manager is likely staying later to finish that work and missing their dog/cat/family. They know the ins and outs of the job, and will look for different kinds of things on a resume than the first line who are looking more for keywords than the real skills.

For the first set of eyes - you need to keep in mind what are the keywords they will be looking for in a resume. One very practical way to do this is to look at a few job descriptions on or elsewhere to get a sense of common words that are typical for the job you are applying to. Don’t assume you know all the lingo - take a few minutes to do the research. Your resume should hit on the main skillsets that are common to your job type if you have those skills. If you are an accountant with GAAP experience, and you see GAAP on several jobs you may be interested in applying to, that is definitely something that should be on your resume. Recruiters won’t assume you have the skill based on your job title!

For the hiring manager eyes, examples are the best way to win them over both in interviews and on the resume. You have a very short period of time to get across the feeling that you know the job, have done the job, and will make that hiring manager’s life easier if they hire you. At least one bullet point under each job should be a specific example, succinctly stated that will grab a hiring manager’s attention.

It goes without saying that you should proofread, have a friend/loved one/frenemy proofread, then proofread again your resume. As crazy as it sounds, there are people in the world who will discard a resume for typos, a grammar mistake, etc. It’s something that we are taught to look for and the grammar nazi’s go way too far with it sometimes. So, you should do everything in your power to not have anything a crazy person can latch on to.

Another common mistake people make is that their public online profiles don’t match what’s on the resume. It’s easy to have job dates be a month off here or there, but when (yes, WHEN) someone in the screening process looks you up online, if a date is wrong on your LinkedIn or your facebook profile is all about how you got fired from a job that your resume says you’re still in, you won’t get to the interview. You need to make sure that everything is consistent.

Finally on content, it’s 100% OK to have more than one resume targeted at a couple of different types of jobs. Companies don’t share resumes with each other. If you are willing to consider a sales job with company A, and a sales manager job with company B - you should absolutely have a resume focused on sale and a resume focused on being the manager.

In part 2 we cover the technical stuff about a resume and how to put it together!

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