In today's job market, it's less about what you've done, but how you present it.
Our latest interview with resume writing agency ClearPointHCO is packed with insider tips and tricks to help you stand out from the crowd.
If you haven't customized your CV yet, now's the time to finally learn why taking the hard route and tailoring your CV for every job application you send will benefit your career.
For those wondering what's the best way to scale their LinkedIn profile — it's all about creating a personal brand.
Below is the full interview with ClearPointHCO Chief Executive G. Anaba Wachuku II.
As the CEO of ClearPointHCO, Anaba has led the company in providing top-notch customer services for the past 14 years. With more than 30 years of HR experience, Anaba has earned a holistic understanding of business imperatives from both sides of the fence, particularly by partnering with HR departments of several Fortune 500 companies. Beyond his professional endeavors, Anaba is committed to community engagement, regularly delivering impactful school presentations and providing mentorship to individuals within and outside his company.
DesignRush: Considering the frequent changes in the U.S. job market, how often should applicants update their resumes to ensure maximum effectiveness?
Anaba: Candidates should update their resume each time they apply for a new position. A resume should never be a static document but customized for each job application.
Given the increasing reliance on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), what strategies do you recommend for incorporating keywords without compromising the resume's authenticity?
It's critical for job seekers to carefully study the job description for each position of interest before applying.
This way, candidates can ensure they capture and use the relevant phrases in their resume to increase the chances that an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will accept their resume.
The keywords should be integrated throughout the body of the resume most often. However, job seekers should be careful not to make these efforts too obvious.
📑 EDITOR'S TIP: When aligning your resume and cover letter with a job description, make sure to include the most relevant skills for the particular job at the start of your application — Recruiters often decide whether to proceed with a candidate in a matter of seconds.
With the growing prevalence of remote work, how can job seekers showcase their work skills and experience best?
The candidates interested in remote or hybrid employment should highlight their remote work skills and experience effectively on their resumes by emphasizing key remote competencies and skills.
Skill examples include:
- Time management
- Effective communication
They should also highlight proficiency in remote collaboration tools and technologies.
- Quantify achieved results by providing metrics to demonstrate your impact
- Show your ability to adapt to different time zones and flexible work schedules
- Showcase commitment to continuously finding the best practices to complete repeating tasks
What are ClearPointHCO's top tips for LinkedIn profile optimization in the digital-first job market?
It's usually very simple to start optimizing your LinkedIn profile to attract more views.
The first five steps you should go for are:
- Upload a high-quality, professional headshot as your profile picture
- Craft a compelling headline that includes relevant keywords for your industry using terms that recruiters may search for when seeking candidates
- Write a concise summary that showcases your professional journey, skills and aspirations, using first-person language
- Use bullet points for readability while focusing on the measurable impact of your work — apply the same font for consistency
- Provide comprehensive details about your work experience, emphasizing achievements and quantifiable results
Can you share insights on the change presenting metrics and achievements can make in a candidate’s resume?
The most impactful content of a candidate's resume is the quantifiable accomplishments and metrics, as they show the recruiter that the candidate has experience in making a difference at his workplace.
Here are a few examples:
1. Project Management
Wrong — "Managed multiple projects"
Correct — "Led a cross-functional team in completing a $2 million project [XYZ], achieving project milestones ahead of schedule and within budget."
The latter option is quantifiable and easier to understand.
📑 EDITOR'S TIP: Use percentages or graph screenshots.
2. Effect on Revenue
Wrong — "Implemented cost-cutting measures"
Correct — "Initiated and executed operational efficiency strategies, resulting in a 15% reduction in annual operating costs, saving the company $500,000."
LEARN MORE: ✨ How to ace your next job interview with the Star Method?
What trends do you foresee in resume writing and LinkedIn profile optimization for 2024, and how should candidates prepare for these changes?
The trends that worked this year will remain applicable going into 2024:
- Candidates should emphasize personal branding by presenting a consistent and authentic brand across their resume and LinkedIn profile, showcasing their unique market value
- Job seekers should turn to a storytelling approach in resumes and LinkedIn summaries by emphasizing challenges they've overcome and lessons they've learned
- Applicants should take advantage of AI tools to effectively search for keywords to use in optimizing their resumes for ATS
The use of generative AI is still frowned upon by some. Would you say that highlighting experience with these tools is currently helping candidates get the job?
Generative AI is mostly beneficial for candidates, particularly in fields where such skills are relevant.
As with every other tool, AI-generated content is designed to save time and assist us in completing our tasks faster — thus saving time.
However, applicants must know how to use the tool to accomplish their task by having an idea of what the correct result should be before using a platform to speed up their work.
For now, I don’t see generative AI tools as a threat.
📑 EDITOR'S TIP: Think carefully about using AI-generated content in your application without heavy editing — Recruiters will know you haven't put much effort into your work.
For professionals hoping to change their careers, what key elements should they focus on in their resumes to make a successful transition?
Their resumes should strategically emphasize several elements.
Here's a step-by-step process:
- Include a clear summary at the beginning of your resume that highlights your desire to transition into the field. Clearly state your motivation and the skills you bring from your previous experience that are transferable (such as leadership, project management or problem-solving)
- Emphasize only the experiences that are most relevant to the new career (this applies to every job application). Showcase achievements that demonstrate your ability to excel
- Highlight the education you've undertaken to prepare for the transition, showing your commitment to acquire the necessary knowledge for the new role
What is your stance on the use of visual elements in resumes, considering recent trends toward more traditional and linear formats?
ClearPointHCO doesn't encourage the use of graphic resumes.
Visual elements, while attractive, do not belong on a resume as most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are not robust enough, and most times cannot accurately read or effectively parse resumes with visual elements.
A traditional chronological or functional resume with minimal graphics is always a better choice.