If you are looking for a new job this year, updating your resume is the first important step. Although there’s a global skills shortage, we’ve also seen major layoffs in the technology sector; there’s a risk of recession; and many roles could be impacted by AI. This all means that it’s time to ask, “What do employers look for in a resume in 2023?”
In today’s job market, it’s important to focus on making sure your in-demand hard skills are clear on your resume, including your technical skills and capabilities. It’s also vital that you showcase relevant experience and tailor your resume to the employer and job listing. Taking these steps makes it much easier for employers to recognize why you should be invited to interview ahead of your peers.
Now, let’s walk through a section-by-section overview of what employers are looking for in 2023. What’s really going to stand out on your resume and get you that interview?
What do employers look for in a resume?
This one’s a no-brainer - include your name and contact details, including your email address. But remember, there is also an opportunity to highlight your fit for the job here. If you have a portfolio link or use an industry-relevant application to communicate, add your URL or social handle.
An emerging trend is to skip the often vague and cliched resume “Objective,” and opting instead for a Summary. If you do include a Summary section, our advice is to keep it lean and specific. Make it a statement outlining your aspirations and highlight your most relevant experience and skills that match the job advert.
The Skills section is perhaps the most important. It’s a quick reference list in column/bullet point format that lets an employer know if you have the skills for the job. They’ll often then check your education or career history to double-check how strong your skills really are and how you gained them.
DO NOT include soft skills like “strong communication” or “highly organized.”
DO include your technical competencies like “Python,” “WordPress,” “Microsoft Access,” or “Human Resource Management.”
Achievements (or accomplishments)
Strong and relevant achievements must also be very specific. Are you seeing a trend here for what employers look for in a resume in 2023? You need to be clear that you are qualified for the role. So, for the Achievements section, your bullet points need to include factual and quantifiable achievements such as:
Increased revenue by 200% year-on-year in 2022
Led the design of eleven new websites in 2021, all of which now rank on the first page of Google for their keyword.
Education and certificates
For the Education section, if you’re a recent graduate, you might want to go into a little more depth here and add details of your course focus and any particular (and relevant) projects or practical experiences you gained.
If most of your skills have been obtained “on the job,” then this section might be more concise, and you’ll be putting more detail into your career history. If you have completed many courses, or lots of shorter courses, you’ll want to focus on listing the ones that demonstrate you have the skills the employer has requested in their job advert and omit the rest.
With career history, relevance is key. If your career has been short or in a different industry than the job you’re applying for, this section might be lean, You can beef it up by highlighting any transferable experience.
For example, if you are applying for a senior or leadership role in a new industry, your past management experience is very relevant. If you worked in a hardware store while you were studying, but are applying as a junior web designer for a construction company, your understanding of the industry will set you apart from other junior applicants.
There are other sections you can add to your resume. Whether you do or not depends on the strength and relevance of what they contain. If you have a strong skill set and ten years of experience, you might want to skip the hobbies section. In contrast, if you are a graduate applying to become a social media manager for an outdoor company, and your passion is hiking, then you’ll definitely want to add that.
Other sections to consider are:
Attention to detail
No matter what role or industry you are hoping to work in, demonstrating attention to detail goes a long way. You can do this by tailoring your resume to the job description to show that you have the skills employers are looking for (we’ll get to that next).
Equally important is to proofread your final resume multiple times to ensure it’s error-free. Grammarly is always a good choice to check you aren’t making tiny errors that could cost you an interview.
An easy way to make sure your resume is effective is to upload it to the tool below — it'll scan your resume for common issues like impact or style, and instantly give you suggestions on how to improve it.
Tailoring your resume
We’re going to end this overview of what employers look for in a resume today with a few tips on how to tailor your resume to a job, a critical skill to learn for 2023’s job search. It is as simple as finding out what employers are looking for, how they describe this, and highlighting your matching skills and experience on your resume.
You can also use the skills search tool below to get a list of skills and keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Speak the same language
Tailoring is all about keyword alignment, and that means using the same words and phrases you find in the job description on your resume. That way, employers will see and feel you are a match! You should also aim to use the same tone.
Use the job advert or description as your guide
A job advert or description is your potential employer's wish list. It's exactly what the employer is looking for, and you should respond by answering their needs. You can go through an advert or description step by step; ask yourself if you have the skills or experience; then check your resume and make edits where appropriate.
Be relevant and specific
Our final note is a reminder to be relevant and specific. If your future employer is looking for “strong communication skills,” don’t just add those words to your resume.
If you are a strong communicator, demonstrate it in your Work Experience bullet points! You could say,
Resolved a complex design requirement of XYZ by organizing and leading brainstorming sessions with relevant technical experts and delivering a suite of three possible solutions to the client.
If you want a quick double-check of what needs to be on your resume when you are tailoring it to a job description, try our free targeting tool.