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Résumé Strategies | Layoff to LAUNCH An Inbetweener's Playbook

Series Overview

Layoff to Launch is a blog series, comprised of six articles:

  1. Introduction
  2. Day One: Triage
  3. Personal Branding
  4. Résumé Strategies
  5. Self-Promotion Power Plays
  6. Dealing with Ageism

Setting the Stage

Navigating today's dynamic, post-generative AI job market demands mastery in the art of résumé writing. Drawing from decades of personal experience and recent developments, this 'Layoff to Launch' series article highlights a few key résumé crafting strategies, with a special reveal of my favorite job-finding book as previously promised.

The Importance of Storytelling in Résumés

Creating an effective résumé starts with a clear target. A résumé is your professional story. Every element of your résumé should align with your career aspirations and target the role you are seeking. Highlight experiences that support the goal. Even minor roles can add to this narrative, if positioned thoughtfully.

The Power of Visual Résumés

A 2015 Glassdoor report found that a typical corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes, yet only 4-6 candidates are interviewed, with just one landing the job. In today's even more competitive landscape, differentiation is key. Opting for a visual resume of CV is one effective tactic. Years ago, I challenged myself to create a standout visual CV, which has served me well and received positive feedback ever since. It's important to note that you do not have to be a visual artist to justify creating a visually striking resume nor does it require you to possess graphic design skills. As I shared in my recent blog post, “Unlocking Opportunities: How a Visual Portfolio Boosts a Writer's Career,” collaborating with a professional designer can produce outstanding results, setting you apart from others. 

Click image to enlarge.

Balancing Visual Appeal with ATS Compatibility

While a visually striking résumé can captivate human readers, it’s equally important to have an ATS-friendly version for machine reading. Most recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan and filter résumés based on keywords and labels. A visually complex résumé might not be scannable by these systems, potentially causing qualified candidates to be overlooked. To mitigate this, prepare two versions of your résumé: a visually engaging one for human interaction and a simplified, text-based version optimized for ATS. For a more comprehensive guide on creating ATS-friendly résumés, refer to the article “How to create an ATS friendly resume in 2024” from Jobscan. 

This dual approach caters to both the human eye and the ATS, maximizing your chances in a competitive job market.

Leveraging AI for Résumé Customization

Traditionally, experts advise customizing your résumé for each job application. While sound in theory, it was a tedious task – until now. Enter generative AI tools, game-changers in résumé customization. My personal experiments with these tools created several résumé versions in mere minutes, each highlighting various skill sets from my career, making the process efficient and impactful.

Common Résumé Mistakes

Oversharing and Exaggeration

Remember, less can be more on your résumé. Overdoing details to impress might backfire. Share unique contributions but keep them in perspective – they should enhance, not overshadow, your overall experience. Stay honest and balanced about your roles in projects.

True story: I once met a designer who showed me work from a project I led. He didn't know I was in charge and exaggerated his role, claiming he did the full design when he was just involved in production. Oops! Always be honest about your work – you never know who you're chatting with!

The Non-Negotiables: Grammar, Formatting, and Proofreading

In today's era of advanced proofreading tools, a well-written, error-free résumé is essential. It reflects your professionalism and attention to detail.

Using Generative AI for Formatting and Proofreading

AI tools also assist in formatting challenges, ensuring your résumé is not only rich in content but also visually coherent and appealing.

My Favorite Job-Hunting Book

OK, it's time to share my favorite book on job hunting. Why is this my favorite? For starters, I read this book once, in college, and I can still paraphrase the methodology: 

  1. Determine the career and location you're interested in
  2. Find someone working in that field, possibly through a friend.
  3. Arrange a meeting with them, making it clear that your intent is to understand their industry rather than seek employment.
  4. Meet and discuss their role and the challenges they face.
  5. Ask them for a referral to another professional in the industry.
  6. Continue this process, meeting more individuals, asking insightful questions, and gathering industry knowledge.
  7. These interactions will progressively build your understanding and making you increasing viable; often leading to a job offer.

Have you guessed the book?


To stand out in today's job market, enhance your résumé with storytelling, visual elements, and AI tools.  In doing so, you will create a narrative that resonates with both human and digital evaluators. Apply these tips to transform your résumé into a key to unlock exciting new career opportunities!

Join the Conversation

What are your favorite resume tips? Be sure to share them in on LinkedIn.

Next installment: Self-Promotion Strategies.

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