As the checklist for essentials continues to grow and become more specialized by industry, the resume creation process can feel a bit scattered. With all the different design tools and tech resources out there pointing in various directions, it’s important not to lose site of the main goal: showcasing your relevant skills and experiences to a particular employer.

Need some help as you focus in on what’s hot for your industry? We’re boiling down our top 5 resume trends to zone in on as you prep for the search ahead.

1. Describe Skills in Action

Sure, simply listing industry skills in a side column shows that you know what your skills are and should be, but listing your specialized combination of skills in descriptions of past job experiences demonstrates how those skills have developed and impacted overall growth. This is what’s going to catch an employer’s attention.

Our advice: As you’re reviewing and organizing your experiences, read through industry job descriptions and ask yourself: how has or could my skill set accomplish the tasks described? And how might I measure that? Create a master list of these “skills-in-action” experiences that you can refer back to as you tweak your resume for individual employers.

2. List Achievements Over Duties

Instead of just copying and pasting the requirements from your last job description, tell how you moved the needle from point A to point B. What is it that you did differently or particularly well? How did you grow and how did you help the company grow?

Our Advice: Show that you can transform duties into measurable goals, and then achieve them.

3. Write and Design With Both Humans and Software in Mind

Keywords, keywords, keywords – but only the ones that make sense.

Our Advice: Search for and examine a range of job descriptions for your specific field. Pay special attention to the words used and the way successful tasks and processes are measured and described. Use these descriptions as an outline or reference, and flesh out your own experiences from there.

When it comes to design, stylized resume templates and flashy color palettes make sense for some industries and not for others. Know your audience and decide whether or not playing around with all those trendy apps is worth your time.

Our Advice: When in doubt, go for a clean style with an easily readable format – this way you cover your bases for any encounters your resume might have with ATS scanners once you upload it online.

4. Socialize

Whether it’s online or on a piece of paper, your personal brand is your responsibility. If you want professional connections and references, you have to go out there and make them. Beyond simply ensuring that your social media accounts don’t showcase any inappropriate behavior, there’s plenty of positive ways you can harness the power of social networks and websites to bolster your brand. You can even use your resume to enhance your social media presence and vice versa!

Our Advice: Make it to be easy for other professionals to get a hold of you. On your resume, include the URL to your online portfolio and the handles to your social media accounts. Remember: this means you’re directing employers to these places (which they’re going to find anyway if they really want to – so why not own it, right?); make sure they like what they see.

Start by posting and sharing content that reflects a genuine interest in your industry – and when you see others do the same, engage in the conversation. You never know who else might spot the dialogue in their feed, and the opportunities or connections it could lead to!

5. Think Like a Data Geek

At the end of the day, your resume is a marketing tool. Regardless of how nice it looks or how many industry keywords you’ve crammed into it, if the evidence isn’t there, the message will fall flat.

Our Advice: Use numbers and measurements to back up your accomplishments and timelines that show clear growth moving from one experience to the next.

The technology recruiters and hiring managers use, and the experiences they look for are always changing – don’t get left behind! Looking for some extra guidance and advice on modernizing your resume? Stop by the closest ETS office to meet with a recruiter. They know what works, what doesn’t, and how to usher you into a successful new year. Schedule your appointment online today!