5 Changes to Make on Your Resume Right Now

The pandemic changed what will catch the eyes of recruiters on resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

Experienced leader.

Manage sales team for a Fortune 500 company.

Collaborate with partners across the organization on new business development initiatives.

If this is how your resume reads, you’re going to have a tough time landing a job in the post-COVID world. To be sure, the pandemic has dramatically altered organizations’ talent needs, but experts say job candidates haven’t updated their resumes to reflect the changes. Jacob Zabkowicz, vice president and general manager for Korn Ferry’s global RPO business, says recruiters are looking for more specificity regarding functional performance and more insight into the intangible assets candidates can bring to the organization. Since business conditions are still uncertain, for instance, he says recruiters want to see examples of how candidates operated through ambiguity in past roles. “The pandemic shifted what matters,” Zabkowicz says.

With recruiters getting two to three times as many applications per job posting than usual, our experts advise adding the following points on your resume to make it stand out.

Show adaptability.

Operating in an environment of constant change isn’t going to change, so highlighting your flexibility and agility in response to COVID-19 is an essential part of any resume, says Korn Ferry managing director Stephanie Edwards. She says recruiters are looking for examples of levelheadedness under pressure and problem-solving in unfamiliar situations. “We are seeing employers be responsive to resumes that demonstrate these qualities,” Edwards says.

Promote the pivot.

Recruiters want to know how you helped your organization or team pivot during the pandemic, says David Meintrup, a Korn Ferry Advance career coach. “It isn’t just about skills, it’s about the specific job you are doing,” he says. Put another way, don’t just say you helped accelerate digital transformation or new business development. Rather, state details about the process you helped automate and what new product or territory you developed to increase revenue. 

Highlight remote engagement.

It’s not uncommon to see something along the lines of “managed a sales team remotely during COVID.” And while that’s a start, it’s still pretty generic. Zabkowicz says what recruiters want to see is how you operated remotely, especially when it comes to historically on-site roles like engineering or research and development. He advises highlighting specific team achievements or activities that improved productivity and engagement, two areas organizations are still struggling with in a remote environment. Zabkowicz remembers a candidate whose resume highlighted organizing a “take your kids to work day at home” that included a Zoom conference call with everyone’s kids as a way to increase engagement.

Amp up extracurriculars.

Getting laid off, especially last year, doesn’t have to be an obstacle to finding a job. To be sure, recruiters understand being out of work is likely more a function of the pandemic than anything else and err on the side of empathy. What they are more interested in, however, is how you are using the time between jobs. Showcasing volunteer experience and training courses to improve or upgrade skills, for instance, can serve as a way to underscore your purpose, values, and ambition, all of which are attractive post-pandemic traits for recruiters and organizations.

Show size and scale.

In the post-pandemic environment, a resume that doesn’t show how and by how much a candidate helped drive revenue, reduce costs, or improve operational efficiency could be the difference between getting or missing out on a job. “People are losing jobs because they are leaving stats out of their resumes,” says Zabkowicz. Increasing a $3 million product line by 25% through improved supply chain efficiencies in 2020 certainly helps give recruiters a sense of the size and scale of what you accomplished, he says.