In late 2012, nearly 100 of the top career coaches, career counselors, resume writers, college and university career professionals, military career transition specialists, and outplacement consultants gathered to ” brainstorm best practices, innovations, trends, new programs, new processes, and other observations that are currently impacting, and are projected to impact, global employment, job search, and career management.”
A few interesting takeaways:
1) The traditional resume is still alive and kicking. Amidst increased competition from LinkedIn, social resumes, and other new media platforms, the old one- to two-page resume continues to serve as an essential job search tool and the foundation for all other career marketing communication.
2) Cover letters haven’t been phased out just yet. It’s true that some HR people have no desire to read a cover letter. However, it can still serve as a tool to open a dialogue and is considered best practice to submit with a resume whenever possible.
3) Branded content across all documents needs to be consistent. What you say in your resume needs to align with how you position yourself on LinkedIn and any other social platforms.
4) Concise, quickly scannable resumes are a must-have. Our attention spans are growing shorter by the hour, so a recruiter or hiring manager must be able to glean the important information in seconds, not minutes. People simply don’t read resumes from top to bottom when initially screening candidates.
5) CAR/STAR stories have become even more essential tools for smart job seekers. CAR (Challenge-Action-Result) and STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) give the reader a clearer idea of the impact you had in each role, rather than a simple description of your responsibilities.
6) A well-constructed LinkedIn profile is no longer optional. In just a few short years, the most popular professional social network has become an essential part of a job search strategy. Absence from LinkedIn could be a major detriment to a candidate’s chances to receive an interview.
7) Endorsements on LinkedIn don’t amount to much. Professionals should devote more of their time on LinkedIn in to providing and requesting recommendations when merited. Some people suggest that endorsements will become a primary SEO component to help recruiters find candidates, so it may not be wise to ignore them completely.
8) A strong social media presence is necessary for successful job search and career management. Employers check LinkedIn and Facebook after application review but before an interview.
9) Video resumes are becoming more accepted, especially on the West Coast. Video hasn’t been fully embraced at the mid- to senior-levels as there are still EEO issues. However, some recruiters find video is an easier way to quickly screen candidates.
10) Applicant tracking systems still aren’t standardized. Until they are, it will be difficult for most qualified candidates to fully understand how to effectively optimize a resume and cover letter to consistently beat the system.