6 Indispensable Resume Tips to Live By in 2019

by Jacob Share

Gearing up for a job search this coming year? The good news is that job market trends won’t suddenly change on January 1. The bad news? Resume writing has probably changed a bit since the last time you looked for a new role.

One trend affecting the job market more than anything else right now is low unemployment. But don’t be lulled into thinking that a tight job market means that employers aren’t receiving applications to job posts.

Competition is still stiff in the job market, but you can improve your chances of being the chosen candidate by learning how to write a resume that clearly outlines to employers why you are the best candidate for the role.

Your first move should be to learn to craft an eye-catching resume. Here are six resume tips to help you do that.

Modern resumes can no longer afford to waste a single word on anything that does not address the specific needs of the hiring organization. For example, if you are applying for a manager role, talk about the management experience you have and leadership roles you’ve held.

1. Leverage the best resume tools

If you haven’t updated your resume in a year or more, you’ll need to evolve from an outdated format and design a more current one. However, resume writing is intimidating to many jobseekers. The good news is that you don’t need to study resume writing to create effective application documents that present in you in the best light.

One of my pro resume tips: consider using a professional resume builder that will provide step-by-step guidance through the entire writing process. These tools help you adhere to best practices for resume writing and offer a variety of modern resume templates to fit your industry.

LiveCareer’s searchable database hosts hundreds of thousands of resume examples to help and inspire you. Or, if you need more help, LiveCareer’s professional resume builder takes things one step further by providing step-by-step instructions that can help you craft a well-written and great-looking document in minutes. Plus, it’s free.

2. Optimize for ATS

This is one of those resume tips too many jobseekers ignore. Just as you want to save time writing a great resume and getting it to the right employers, employers want to save time receiving and discovering resumes from the right candidates. After all, a single job post can receive hundreds of applicants.

That’s why employers love applicant tracking systems, or ATSs. The software is designed to screen resumes using specific keywords, and the system will alert recruiters only when resumes match the criteria of an open position.

However, if your resume isn’t formatted correctly, an ATS won’t recognize its value even if you have researched and included the correct resume keywords for the job in question. This is another way a professional resume builder can help you. By offering resume templates that are approved for ATSs—single-column layouts, no serif fonts, and clear section headings—you are one step closer to your resume passing through an ATS and into the hands of a recruiter.

3. Laser target your resumes

Tailoring your resume for each employer is still one of the best resume tips. But in 2019, jobseekers need to get more precise regarding when and how they customize.

Many jobseekers wait for job interview invites before taking the time to research a company. From now on, do that research before you apply in the first place. Recruiters are looking for candidates who have done their homework about the company. They will pursue those who come into an interview situation ready to give detailed answers to specific questions about the company, its products, and its services. Further, recruiters are more likely to take a chance on a candidate who has clearly done their homework and whose background and skill set intrigues them.

Modern resumes can no longer afford to waste a single word on anything that does not address the specific needs of the hiring organization. For example, if you are applying for a manager role, talk about the management experience you have and leadership roles you’ve held.

All your prior experience must be translated into results: What did you accomplish? Why is it relevant to this specific opportunity in this specific organization?

4. Let a testimonial speak for you

This is one of my favorite resume tips. Have you recently seen a movie poster with a short but highly positive review plastered across the top? If the review quote was from a famous critic or publication you trust, didn’t it motivate you to see the movie?

Use the same powerful effect in your resume by including a short but highly positive quote about you from a boss, colleague, or client (with permission, of course). The quote may be something sent via email, posted on social media, or perhaps even written in a performance review.

If you don’t have a testimonial in mind, ask for one. If you decide to ask for a testimonial, don’t be afraid to suggest what it might say.

For best results, aim for a testimonial from someone who recruiters are likely to recognize. And, of course, the quote should be relevant to the job at hand.

5. Don’t just list skills, demonstrate them

One of the classic resume tips is to include a section listing your skills and proficiencies. This is no longer good enough.

Today, it’s critical to show the impact your work had on the organization, so a simple list of hard and soft skills won’t cut it.

For example, three soft skills that recruiters regularly look for are being a team player, agility, and cross-functional management. Calling yourself a team player is meaningless, but including achievements in your resume that demonstrate your use of this skill will send the right message.

The same goes for hard skills. You’ll want to highlight how your hard skills were key to a project’s success, so be specific.

If you haven’t updated your resume in a year or more, you’ll need to evolve from an outdated format and design a more current one. However, resume writing is intimidating to many jobseekers. The good news is that you don’t need to study resume writing to create effective application documents that present in you in the best light.

6. Complement your hard resume with a virtual one

Recruiters routinely use LinkedIn to scan the job market for candidates, but many find that LinkedIn profiles lack the specificity, depth, and narrative that resumes have.

The last of my resume tips is to use your LinkedIn profile as a virtual resume. The information on LinkedIn should match what’s on your traditional version. Also, going into your LinkedIn settings and marking yourself as “open to opportunities” will allow recruiters to more easily identify and contact you.

Finally, add your LinkedIn vanity URL to the contact information on your resume so that recruiters can easily click through to learn more about you.