Resume Rules: 2020


Resume Rules 2019


Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Resume rules do change.  If you want a new job in today’s environment, your resume must be targeted for each specific job.  It must contain all the pertinent information, be concise and ATS (applicant tracking system compliant.  Keeping a ‘master resume’ with your complete job history and accomplishments will make it easier for you to customize your resume for a specific position.

Here are the resume rules for 2020…

Use a Professional Summary:

This section on the top of your resume will show your qualifications for the position.  If you are currently using an Objective, update it now to avoid looking out of date.

Summary paragraphs should be no more than 3 sentences and should highlight your skills as they pertain to the job description.  Remember to be concise and to the point.

–Over 10 years of experience in (field) with a special emphasis directing financial communications, social and digital media and issues management.
–Fifteen years of experience in investor relations. Industries include: (list industries)

Applicant Tracking Systems:

Like them or not, Applicant Tracking Systems are here to stay.  Employers use these to screen out resumes that do not fit the job requirements.  Your resume will probably go through an ATS if you answer a job ad online.  All applicant tracking systems basically work the same. They use a ‘parser’ to read the information in your resume.
The parser will read the information that has been keyed into the system. In most cases, these are the keywords and skills listed in the job description/ad.

Make Your Resume Easy To Read:

Resumes are read on a variety of devices – desktops, tablets and phones.  Remember to leave a lot of white space and bullet points.  Keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences.  Try opening your resumes on different devices to see how easy it is to read.

Watch Your Language:

Keep up-to-date on industry terminology.  Know all the keywords for your job and the job you want.  Avoid using general phrases like computer skills but list any technical software skills.

Include Your On-line Information:

Hiring managers and recruiters will use social media to find out more about candidates.  So include your LinkedIn URL and any other sites where you are active.  Remember,  you can include much more information on LinkedIn than you can on your resume so take advantage of that.

And don’t forget:

Basic Resume Rules:

Your resume must:
1. Have just the pertinent information.
2. Be customized for each job.
3. Be strategic in content.
4. Have the most relevant information at the top of every section.
5. Be concise, have white space and be easy to read/scan.
6. Be applicant tracking system (ATS) ready – no headers/footers, graphs, color etc.
7. Not have old, outdated material.
8. Include appropriate keywords.
9. Use bullet points to make it easier to read.
10. Be error free.

Resume Styles:

There are four basic resume styles: Chronological, Functional, Combination and Targeted.
A chronological resume includes a listing of your work history, beginning with your most recent job. This is a great format for your master resume.
A functional resume highlights your major skills areas.
A combination resume utilizes parts of both the functional and chronological resumes. It lists skills on tope followed by the work history.
A targeted resume focuses on specific abilities and duties that relate directly to a particular job. This is the most favored resume style.

Resume Fonts:

The typeface you choose for your resume is very important. Your resume needs to be as clear and concise as possible. It will be read on many types of devices from desktops to mobile phones. Sans-serif typefaces are best for small screens and the easiest to read on all screens. You can search for san-serif fonts, but here are some of the most common:
Arial Narrow
Book Antiqua
Trebuchet MS
Times New Roman

For an ATS, keep your fonts and format simple.  Most of these systems work by processing text so graphics and creative layouts may get your resume rejected.

What Goes On Your Resume?

1. Your name, address, telephone numbers and email address. Identify your phone numbers if you are putting more than one (cell, business, home, message etc.) If you are looking for a job in a different locale and want to be relocated, put your full address on the top, as usual. If you are looking for a position where you have a residence or place to stay lined up, leave off your address or use the address at the location. Also, remember to check the email and voice mail you list regularly.  Include your on-line addresses also.
2. In your work history, put the company/agency name with a short explanation of the nature of the organization. Hiring managers might not be familiar with your employer or you might be working in a specific product unit.
3. If you are looking for work in a PR or Advertising agency, list your clients or account expertise.
4. Under education, list the school and degree.
5. If you are fluent in a language or have knowledge of specific or technical computer programs, list them.  Do not use general terms like computer literate and only list languages you are fluent in (read, write and speak.)
6. Current Board/Committee memberships can show your interest in a field or philanthropic area. List them.

What Does Not Go On Your Resume?

1. Don’t list any personal information such as birthdays, marital status etc. While common practice outside of the US, it is not legal here.
2. Keep the names of your references on a separate sheet and give them out when asked.
3. Salary information does not belong on the resume. If a job ad asks for salary history, it should go in your cover letter.
4. Don’t include any activities that are not relevant. You can always make a separate addendum page if you want them.
5. The phrase, “References available on request” is outdated and should not be used.

When writing your Resume, remember to:

1. Eliminate pronouns. Resumes should not include I, he/she.
2. Tailor your summary to the position you are applying.
3. Don’t include non-sequitur information.
4. Use bullet points to make it easier to read.
5. Avoid jargon/buzzwords.
6. Do not include personal information.
7. If you feel your resume is too long, eliminate from the bottom. You don’t really need bullet points for your first jobs.
8. Include as many keywords as possible.

Words Not To Include On Your Resume:

Unnecessary words that don’t add anything, describe anything or showcase your writing ability should be eliminated from your resume. You want to be clear and concise so eliminate words like:

Extensive experience
Team player
Problem solver
Interface with
Aptitude for
Works well with
Good communication skills
Measureable results
Good work ethic
Bottom-line oriented

Words to Add To Your Resume:


Sending Your Resume:

It’s a digital world when it comes to job hunting so your resume will be sent electronically.
Transmitting your resume with a generic name can cause it to be overlooked or to get lost in the system. Be professional and name your resume file properly. You want hiring managers to know it’s your resume and make it easier to track through their email system.

1. Use either a PDF or Microsoft Word Format.
2. Personalize your file by adding your name – MarieRapertoResume.
3. Don’t use a version number. Just keep it simple.

Happy Resume Writing!

1 Comment

  1. Joey Greene on at 9:31 AM

    WOW!!! Where waz this when I needed it?

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