FEATUREBy Malcolm MayhewOn the hunt
Whether you’re searching for a new position or changing your career path altogether, your résumé is a recruiter’s first glimpse into what you have to offer. Here are some rules to follow for your résumé in 2021.
COVID-19 has, in ways large and small, affected us all, including the ways we seek employment and the ways businesses recruit potential employees.

If you’re searching for the next step in your career, make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. That means sprucing up your résumé and learning what to include and what to omit. Master these tricks of the résumé trade and hopefully you'll be on your way to landing a new position.

Searchable skills
Most businesses, including 99% of Fortune 500 companies, have changed the way they review résumés. Gone are the days of recruiters thumbing through stacks of résumés, looking for good fits. Instead, companies use scanning software that searches electronic versions of résumés for skills pertaining to that particular job. The perfect candidate, in other words, may get overlooked if crucial searchable skills are not included on their résumé.

When looking at a posting, analyze the job description to determine the required skills. If you possess those skills, highlight them on your résumé, either in your bio or job history.

Your résumé should include a mix of “hard skills” and “soft skills,” according to Robert Half, who manages a global staffing company. Hard skills are the technical skills, usually acquired through education or training, required to do the job. Soft skills reflect your personal attributes — for example, adaptability, attention to detail and leadership. Not only do you want to impress a potential employer with your technical savvy, but you want to assure them you’ll be a good fit for the company.

Savvy summary
Another key component of a résumé is a quick synopsis of your qualifications and skills. Mention any sizable achievements and career highlights. Also, customize your summary for each job you’re applying for using the aforementioned searchable skills as keywords.

Not necessary
Many of the bells and whistles we once tricked out our résumés with have now become antiquated. Due to privacy and identity theft issues, for example, it’s no longer a good idea to include your home address. Also, while writing your résumé, do not use a fancy font. Use one that’s easy to read. And unless you’re applying for an acting or modeling job, there’s no need to include a photograph either. This opens the door to discrimination.

Review final
When your résumé is ready to roll, don’t forget the finishing touch: proofreading. Meticulously comb through your résumé for spelling and grammatical errors and don’t rely solely on spellcheck, which only catches misspelled words, not proper word usage.

Akansha Arora, who blogs for career development company Nakuri Fast Forward, says not enough people proofread their résumés, a fact you can use to your advantage. “Since proofreading is not done by every candidate, it is one of the ways you can give yourself an edge,” she says. “It can really increase your chances of landing your dream job.”
While a good résumé is a top priority for today’s job seekers, equally important is a dynamite LinkedIn profile.

“They’re essential for today’s professionals,” says Sandra Clark, a LinkedIn expert who runs a website, linkedinmentoring.com, dedicated to mastering the social media platform. “It’s a wonderful tool to help you grow in your career as well as find new opportunities.”

Here are a few tips on building the perfect LinkedIn profile:
Professional headshot: Don’t use selfies or cropped images for your profile pic, says Forbes magazine. Save those for Facebook and Instagram. Instead, hire a professional photographer. It’s a bit more expensive but with LinkedIn closing in on a billion users, the bucks spent will be worth it.

Profile summaries: Much like résumé bios, LinkedIn profile summaries, found directly below your photo, are quick snapshots of who you are and what you can offer to potential employers. The best summaries, says The Muse, offer a mix of professional accomplishments, work history and personality.

Skills: Go all out on the skills section. List all of your skills — up to 50, Clark says — that a recruiter would use if they were looking for someone with your expertise.

Education: List your schools, degrees, majors and other details pertaining to your formal education. But there’s no need to include dates, Clark says, since they’ll give away your age.

Connections: Clark recommends having at least 30 connections for every year of your age. “Don’t panic about that number,” she says. “Just realize that you need to continually reach out to connect with people that you know, people you’d like to know and people who know people you’d like to know.” The more people you know, Clark says, the greater your chances are of hearing about job openings.
Malcolm Mayhew is a Fort Worth-based writer. His stories have appeared in American Way, Fort Worth Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, MTV.com, CultureMap and Texas Music.