What Winning Resumes Look Like in 2020

January 9th 2020 in Resumes, Uncategorized

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash
Resumes continue to be one of the most confusing documents professionals encounter. Many are still adding on to their resumes from college twenty or even thirty years later, while others fall into the “I never needed a resume until now,” category.  No matter where you land, it’s important to have a well written, professional resume ready when opportunity either knocks or is forced upon you. Resume styles change and employers expect you to keep up.


Here are a few things to include when building a winning resume in 2020:

A professional summary

Objectives are out and summaries are in! Think of your resume as the advertisement promoting what you can provide to a future employer. A professional summary should be no more than three sentences at the top of your resume that showcases what sets you apart from your peers. This is where some of the ‘fluffy’ adjectives come in that describe who you are as a professional. Bonus tip: get rid of the word “synergy”- it makes everyone roll their eyes.

Key Accomplishments:

Ditch the long list of skills aka keywords (we’ll get to those in a minute) at the top of your resume in favor of three to four key accomplishments from the last ten years. This bullet-pointed list should highlight the achievements that you most want an employer to know about. These accomplishments should be quantifiable whenever possible and ALWAYS be focused on business.


Results-focused resumes continue to dominate. Employers not only want to know what you’ve accomplished but the data and metrics to support these statements. Quantifiable metrics include improved cycle times, money saved, increases in ROI, efficiencies, percentage of goals attained, etc. By highlighting the impact of your work through data, you provide the information that the hiring manager can relate to. Not all accomplishments can be qualified using metrics or you may not have access to the supporting data but do your best to highlight the results of your work.

Key Words:

The most common question we’re asked is about keywords. Keywords are the words a hiring manager or recruiter enters into their applicant tracking system (ATS) to find resumes that match the keywords from the job description. Older style resumes will simply list industry keywords in a skills section, but well written, professional resumes will weave the keywords into the text of the resume so that the precious space at the top of the page can be used to highlight your accomplishments instead. Bonus tip: avoid text boxes in resumes as they’re not ATS friendly.

First-person pronouns removed.

The second most common question we receive is about what tense a resume should be in. The easiest way to describe it is first-person with pronouns removed. No one wants to see “I” repeated over and over, so structure your sentences in a way that removes the pronouns while remaining in first-person.

It’s not about you.

There’s nothing that will cause hiring managers to click ‘Delete’ faster than a leadership resume that never references the success of the team. Companies are begging for strong leaders to join their company but if you never mention the team you’ve led or how you’ve helped them be successful, you’ll likely be deleted.

Community Engagement

Social impact continues to be a hot topic for many employers as they realize their corporate image can be positively impacted by where they spend their time and dollars outside of the office. Sharing what you’re involved in on your resume can be a big boost. Bonus tip: avoid sharing engagement that might cause an employer to discriminate.

Awards and Recognition

Your resume is the place where you brag about all you’ve achieved. If you’re fortunate enough to have earned awards or recognition for your work (including your community engagement) be sure to include it. Bonus tip: keep this to the last five or ten years of your career.


We live in a global society that is impacting every business out there. If you speak languages other than English, include them on your resume. List your fluency level also.

An Editor

Every editor needs an editor. Share your resume with that certain friend who is always checking your grammar on social media and ask them to double-check your work or find a resume firm that offers a critique service (we know one that can help!). If you’re comfortable using Microsoft word and bragging about your accomplishments a critique may be all you need.

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