6 Resume Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

Six Resume Trends to Watch Out For in 2020

By Kangli Hu

As we enter a new decade, you can be sure the next 10 years will present new challenges for job seekers. For example, by 2025, it’s estimated that 75 per cent of workers will be millennials, who are known to value diversity, career progression, blogs like this, and environmental health. As companies and talent acquisition teams adjust their hiring practices, it’s only natural that you’ll have to change your jobseeking approach as well. Here are six hiring trends that you should watch out for as you apply for jobs in 2020.

1 . Talk About Your Emotional Intelligence

As we move into an increasingly technology-focussed world, it’s easy to overlook the flipside of this change: the added emphasis on emotional intelligence. AI can replace many hard skills, but the one thing it can’t replace is your people skills. Nobody comes home and tells their family, ‘Wow! My best friend in the office is the AI machine next door!’

If you can brighten up any workplace you walk into, you’re only going to become more valuable in 2020. Currently 77 per cent of employers think soft skills are important, a number that looks likely to rise as we head into the new year.

Emotional intelligence, however, is notoriously difficult to include in a resumé. It’s fine to list it as one of your skills, but it’s almost impossible to prove. An easy but roundabout way to suggest you have strong people skills is to include some relevant hobbies or interests with your resumé, particularly if they require collaboration or teamwork. This shows you care about the people just as much as your achievements and numbers.

2. Emphasise your technology skills

Along with emotional intelligence, your technology skills are more important than ever. Every field has different technology needs, so there are no easy answers. For example, in digital marketing, CSS, HTML and SEO are essential tech skills, whereas JavaScript and Python are key languages for web developers. They’re all free to learn online, but ‘free’ still requires time commitment. If you’re a budding executive with more on your plate than you can handle, it’s unrealistic to learn skills just for the sake of putting them on your resumé.

So what do you do if you’re not confident in your tech skills? The trick is to focus on getting better at the very basics—which may mean Microsoft Office and email. Then, instead of listing them in a Skills section, where they’re not going to be as impressive as someone with a genuine coding background, you want to weave them into the resumé itself. For example:

  • Composed an Excel Macro that increased team productivity by 15 per cent.
  • Created email template on Gmail to respond to 100 emails per day.

And there’s one more way to seem like you’ve got everything covered with technology. You can look to master social media, as we detail below.

3. Social Media is Just as Important as your Resume

As we head into the third decade of the 21st century, your resumé is no longer the end of the screening process. Recruiters and hiring managers will hop onto your LinkedIn and see if they match. If genuine inconsistencies pop up, you can kiss goodbye to your chances of an interview. (Online verification isn’t just limited to social media, of course. If you Google your name and find a full page of pictures of yourself getting drunk, hiring teams won’t be particularly impressed.)

Just as much as bad social media management can bite you, though, you can also leverage your social media expertise to elevate your application. If your social media pages look beautifully designed and structured, people are going to think you’re a tech-savvy professional by default. And if you’ve published well-received articles on LinkedIn, maintaining immaculate personal branding and curated comment sections, talent acquisition teams are going to be just as impressed as they are with your resumé.

Because social media is so imperative, Executive Agents doesn’t leave it to chance. We offer LinkedIn management here. If you’d like to know more, stay tuned for next week’s article, where we offer advice on how to become a LinkedIn thought leader.

4. Cater to ATS Software

ATS—or Applicant Tracking Systems—have been the bane of many jobseekers in the past, but unfortunately it’s here to stay. To summarise, ATS software scans all incoming resumés and does preliminary screening for the company. The primary screening method is keyword tracking, often cross-referenced with the job description. That’s why many people advise you to customise your resumé for each application, time-consuming as it is.

ATS software, by the way, is mainly there to tell which applicants aren’t qualified, while the qualified resumés must still be sorted by a real person. For example, as a recent graduate, I once applied for an executive job. ATS software is a good gatekeeper to fend off foolishly underqualified people like me.

ATS also scans through your template and ignores images. As such, it’s best to keep your templates basic, just in case the ATS is unable to read your text, and don’t use too many images. Luckily, Executive Agents employs both professional writers and professional designers to help you get through Applicant Tracking Systems, while never losing sight of the end product for the hiring manager.

5 . Write a Professional Summary

Objective statements have been dying for a long time, and in 2020 it’s time for the last nail to be drilled into the coffin. There’s genuinely no need for a line like ‘Looking to work in XYZ field where I can utilise my best skills.’ Consider your actual application as the ‘objective statement’; you applied for the job, therefore you want it.

On the other hand, Professional Summaries are in. Most applicants still aren’t using them, so it’s a great way for you to separate yourself from the pack. Not only do professional summaries help get past ATS software by cramming in a few extra keywords, they also provide an overview of your career history and your best one or two achievements. In a time where hiring managers infamously spend six seconds going through the average resumé, it’s exactly the Professional Summary that they’re going to be looking at.

Sometimes it’s not easy to know the difference between an objective statement and the Professional Summary. Here’s the easy way to split them apart: the objective statement is about your goals, whereas the professional summary is about your achievements. The first one is all about what you want (‘I want to become your next CEO’). The second one caters to what the acquisition team wants to know (‘I have 20 years of experience as a CFO’). See why the professional summary is much better?

6. Use Numbers

This isn’t a new trend, but it’s still almost certainly one of the most important. With competition for desired jobs rising, there’s one clear way you can elevate yourself over other applicants: by using numbers. Ballpark generalisations are usually acceptable, and the consequences for having no numbers can sometimes make or break your resumé.

For example, at Executive Agents we mainly cater to executives, and often they’re applying to work with prestigious firms. If you’re going for a CFO job at Telstra, where you’ll be managing the finances of a company with $25 billion in annual revenue and $2.1 billion in profit, they need to know you’re not intimidated by big numbers. In your resumé, you’ll have to show you’ve worked with significant numbers in the past.

Even if you’re not an executive, it’s your specific numbers that prove your abilities. Taylor Swift isn’t just a ‘very talented singer-songwriter’; she has 121 million digital sales and has hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with six different albums. If you’ve never heard of Taylor Swift before, you just need to hear her stats to know she’s really, really good.

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