It’s not an understatement that the professional sphere has transformed many times over the past nearly three years. From the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 that sent everyone from a remote work crash course to the gradual return to office and development of hybrid-working models in 2021.
In 2022, we’ve seen a mix of trends, including quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, and now, a scary amount of tech layoffs. If you are feeling a little unsteady in your career, you’re not alone — ample change often creates increased anxiety. Taking a long hard edit of your resume can help you build confidence — not only to illustrate how much you’ve learned and progressed over the years but to get it ready if a new opportunity presents itself.
Meet the Experts
Peter Rahbar is a workplace issues expert and the founder of The Rahbar Group.
Laci Baker, MEd, CCMC, CPRW, NCOPE, is a career advisor for the University of Phoenix Career.
Soozy G. Miller, CPRW, CDCC, CDP, is an executive career coach.
But what are the new rules for resumes in 2023? Do we include photos and columns — or not? What about a two-page resume? Is that okay now? We spoke with career coaches and experts for their do’s and don’ts to guide your strategy.
DO customize your resume.
Though it’s easy to simply attach or upload the same resume to dozens of jobs, that’s not going to help you make it to the interview round, says Peter Rahbar, a workplace issues expert and the founder of The Rahbar Group.
Not only is it important to customize your resume based on the specific responsibilities of an opening, but he explains that many companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) that looks for specific keywords based on the particular position. “Therefore, your resume and interview responses should include why you are qualified for and want the specific job that you are applying for,” he says. “This can be done by reviewing the job description and including past experience on your resume that corresponds with it.”
DON’T list an objective statement.
You love your parents and boomer mentors — but it’s been a while since they polished off a resume to send out to employers. Objective statements used to be commonplace, but these days, they aren’t necessary, says Laci Baker, a career advisor for the University of Phoenix Career. They also don’t tell a prospective employer what you can offer them: they only illustrate what you want. “An effective resume shares what you can bring to a role and organization. Objective statements do not do a good job of sharing how you can offer value to an employer,” she says.
DO use an action-result format for your experience.
Your word choices on your resume can make or break your ability to stand out in a pile of candidates. Baker says it’s essential to use the action-result format for your experience section bullet statements for better results in 2023. What does this mean? It’s fairly straightforward: add more detail. For example, Baker says, “Entered data into Excel” is a job task that does not tell someone hiring you what you contributed to your past role. “Instead, use ‘Entered customer information into Excel ensuring data was accurately tracked and easily accessible for targeted marketing campaigns,’” she continues. “This is an action-result format highlighting your skills and industry keywords which can help get you noticed.”
DON’T draw attention to employment dates.
Though many professionals tend to stress over employment gaps and how to list dates, Baker says it’s less important than many believe. In fact, she recommends moving your employment dates and locations to the right of the resume document. “Dates and locations are not the most important information, but they are still required on the resume,” she says. “When you put them on the left of the page and then go into the detail of what you have accomplished after, you are not making the most out of the resume space and layout.”
This is particularly sound advice if you live in the United States, where we start reading from the left of the page. “Use this to your advantage and share important information first on the left, for example, past job titles and accomplishments, so hiring professionals can quickly find the needed information that tells them you can do the job you are applying for,” Baker adds.
DO include a summary statement.
We now know that an objective isn’t needed on a modern resume, but what about a summary statement? Rahbar says when used correctly, these can help recruiters understand the Cliffs Notes of your experience to decide if you’re a fit quickly. “Including a summary statement at the top of your resume is the best way to make an immediate impact on a busy recruiter while creating a full picture of you as a candidate,” he says. “Sure, different pieces of your experience and skills are included throughout your resume, but you should still take that extra step of putting all the pieces together for the recruiter and make them want to read further for specific details.”
DON’T use pictures, columns, or large graphics.
Generally speaking, Rahbar says in 2023, your resume should be clear, simple, and professional. “Potential employers do not want to see personal details or pictures that go beyond your relevant skills, experience, and other qualifications,” he explains. “Including unnecessary or inappropriate personal information may make a potential employer question your professionalism or become concerned about their own potential liability after being exposed to this information about you.”
From a technical side, Baker says to steer clear of a resume template that has columns, large graphics, or text boxes. While these look stylish and eye-catching, they don’t always use ATS-friendly formatting. “Instead, use a simple design with .5 margins on all sides, Calibri font, and a touch of a neutral color like dark blue here and there. This is a simple but effective layout and color scheme for a resume,” she notes.
DO demonstrate your leadership impact and value-add.
How you demonstrate your leadership impact and value add is the deciding factor for many recruiters and hiring managers, according to Soozy G. Miller, CPRW, CDCC, CDP, an executive career coach. And this is true no matter if you’re trying to earn a promotion to the C-suite or you’re fresh out of college. What does this mean exactly? Miller says your resume should show how your work — your unique skill set — improved the companies you’ve worked for and led. Or the internships you held. “So many resumes, for any level of employee, only contain information about skills and responsibilities,” she says. This won’t allow you to stand out.
Miller says to focus on both your hard and soft skills and use these questions to fodder your resume writing:
- How did your work improve a project?
- How did you improve teamwork?
- How did you increase revenue?
- How did you increase sales?
- How did you influence a big decision?
- How did you solve a big problem?
“For graduates, this means any school project, anything that involved teamwork, anything that you worked on that improved the situation,” she continues. “For executives, this means stating the specific improvements you made to a company.
DON’T fit everything on one page, no matter what.
While most of us have been told time (and time) again that resumes should never be longer than a page, Baker thinks times have changed. “One-page resumes are no longer useful because tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for is the new norm instead of applying to every job using a general resume,” she explains. “This is because quality over quantity is more effective in the current job search environment, so sharing enough detail instead of saving space is a good goal.”
As a rule of thumb, she says most people do well with a resume that is a max of two pages, though CEO-level roles may do better with three.
Table of Contents
- DO customize your resume.
- DON’T list an objective statement.
- DO use an action-result format for your experience.
- DON’T draw attention to employment dates.
- DO include a summary statement.
- DON’T use pictures, columns, or large graphics.
- DO demonstrate your leadership impact and value-add.
- DON’T fit everything on one page, no matter what.