First impressions are the lifeblood of a successful job search, so making a memorable one is a must. I hear from job seekers every single day who are overwhelmed with the resume-writing process and concerned that the resume they’ve written lacks impact and that ever-elusive WOW factor we all seem to be after.
So this year, my top seven list of resume trends for 2015 is going to focus on ideas and strategies for creating a memorable first impression instead of a forgettable one. So, let’s get started.
Trend #1: Call-out boxes and breakaway text
Creating a visually engaging resume helps to maintain the reader’s interest and keeps them reading. It also gives them short snippets of impactful information that’s easy to remember. Using call-out boxes and breakaway text will draw the reader’s eye to the most important information on your resume. For an example of what I mean, think about when you’re reading a magazine or book page and there’s a caption or type style that is different from the rest of the document—it stands out, and your eye is immediately drawn to it.
Use this visual element to your advantage. Create a call-out box or breakaway text that captures the reader’s attention. Put the most valuable piece of information about you there—the deal clincher—the one thing that you know if they knew it about you they’d HAVE TO INTERVIEW YOU.
Trend #2: The value proposition
Piggybacking off my last point, I’m going to run a little further. Your resume needs to communicate your value proposition to the reader/decision maker/recruiter/fill in the blank of who you’re trying to reach here. Your value proposition is namely the most persuasive reason WHY the person should interview you. Ultimately, you want them to see why they should interview/hire you over another candidate—and they should do that because you can offer them XYZ value that no other candidate can. What’s the most persuasive selling point about your experience and career history? Use it to your advantage and communicate that within your resume.
Trend #3: The fade away from ATS, keyword stuffing, and job boards
If you’ve followed my articles at all this year, you probably saw a common thread running through them. I’ve endeavored to tackle the job search myth that job boards are the ONLY way to find jobs and the ONLY place where the jobs are located. EEEEH (annoying buzzer sound). WRONG. In fact, utilizing job boards should constitute only 20% of your job search efforts. The other 80% should be invested in other methods such as informational interview, networking, cold calling, direct mail campaigns, and so on.
The frustration and hopelessness job seekers feel stems primarily from a lack of knowledge about other ways to job search. They hop onto the job boards, start applying away—and never hear anything back. At first, it doesn’t bother them—but days and days of no responses turn into weeks, and then after some months they spiral down into an abyss of hopelessness and depression as their job search lingers on. They end up thinking their expertise isn’t valued, or that there are no jobs out there—when the truth of the matter is…
There are lots of jobs out there. They’re just not all on job boards.
Phew, now that we got that secret out in the open… Take the time to educate yourself on alternative job search methods and then start utilizing them. It will take far less time than you think and yield far better response rates than anything you’ll get from a job board. Sure, this probably isn’t a “trend” related to writing your resume, but it’s a quickly changing shift in how job seekers are using their resumes. I foresee a swift decline in the number of job seekers using job boards this coming year. The employers have already jumped off that bandwagon and found more cost-effective means to find new employees. It’s about time you jumped ship, too.
And while I’m on that topic, let me just say this about that. I am not against job boards. I am against the misconception that job boards are the exclusive way to find a job and that a job seeker’s efforts should be focused exclusively online. This creates frustration and despair for far too many people.
Trend #4: The networking resume
Have you thought about putting together a quick snapshot of your accomplishments and value proposition that you can pass out to your network? Something short, visually engaging, and benefit loaded? A quick snapshot of what you do and the value you offer gives your network a fuller picture of what you do and can actually help them spread the word about your expertise to interested employers—or even think of contacting you if they hear about a great opportunity that aligns with your skill set.
Think about a quick, one-page bio-type of document that doesn’t necessarily cull through your entire career history but instead offers a glimpse into the value and expertise you can offer a future employer and highlights your achievements and successes most relevant to your career target now. Sure, it may not be the ideal piece to put in the hands of a prospective employer—BUT if you’re networking with family, friends, or connections, some people are more visually inclined. So being able to *see* what you do can help them to help you even more!
Trend #5: Visual engagement
Notice a recurring theme with my top resume trends for 2015? I believe a picture is worth a thousand words—and if a picture is worth a thousand words… Well, then a graph or chart is worth thousands of dollars.
Have you ever wondered why magazines are so popular? The color, the graphics, and the layout. I’m not proposing that your resume be a magazine by any means, but maybe there’s something there about the appeal. I mean, there has to be a reason why—that on average—each household has eight magazine subscriptions. Yes, you read that right—eight per household.
By leveraging the use of visually engaging elements within your resume such as charts, graphs, graphic design pieces, borders, shading, call-out boxes, breakaway text, and so on, you’re maximizing the impact of the most persuasive content, engaging your reader so they continue reading—and most importantly, you’re making a memorable first impression.
Trend #6: Inclusion of video
I’m fairly certain that video resumes will never actually replace written ones. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t become a powerful complement to them. More and more job seekers are starting to create 30-second intro videos so employers can get a better feel for the person’s personality, presence, and cultural fit within the organization.
Including a link on your resume to your video resume or 30-second video introduction could prove to be an effective competitive advantage over your competition. It will all come down to your script and how you present yourself on the video. I encourage you to consider creating one and including a link to it on your resume and your LinkedIn profile. It helps to create a connection with a potential employer and gives them a glimpse into who you are and why you would be an asset to their organization.
Trend #7: Writing to the audience
Job seekers are starting to become very savvy about being focused in their job searches. It doesn’t take long to figure out that what a recruiter is looking for in a resume and cover letter and what a potential employer/target company is looking for can be quite different. The thing with recruiters is that they each have a different opinion of what they want to see in a resume.
We always advise our clients to customize their resumes to the specifications of the recruiter with whom they’re working because that recruiter knows his/her clients and knows what they like to see. What that recruiter will want to see will be different from how you would position yourself if you were applying directly to a targeted company, and if you were sending it straight to your contact or the decision maker at the organization. Your resume will be customized to the specific opening and show how you can address any needs and pain points that company currently has.
Just know this… there is no one-size-fits-all resume. People who pick up on this and create specific resumes to match targeted positions or situations will see much better resume response rates.
I’d love to hear what you think the top resume trends will be in 2015. Feel free to leave a comment below letting me know your thoughts. And in the meantime, let’s connect on LinkedIn.
Want to work with us? If you would like us to personally work on your resume—and dramatically improve its response rate—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at www.greatresumesfast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.
About the author
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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