Today’s job searchers face an unexpected dichotomy – a job search that requires them to blend technology with methods as old as time.

While somewhere between 70 percent and 85 percent of people found roles as a result of social networking and referrals, according to a 2017 Payscale article, a 2018 Jobscan article reveals that 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies and a growing number of small and mid-sized businesses filter resumes through an applicant tracking system (ATS).

This means you’ll likely learn about a role through a connection, then be asked to submit your resume through a company’s online portal.

For job seekers, this means saying goodbye to all black-and-white, printed resumes meant for a desk read and written in Times New Roman font, or a resume written solely for applying online. In 2019, professionals need a resume designed to be read by humans on screens of all sizes and ‘the bots.’

  1. Know your brand

Just like you a person in sales can’t pitch product or an idea without understanding what makes it attractive to customers, you can’t write a powerful resume if you don’t know what makes you attractive to hiring managers.

To start, think about things you’ve accomplished in each former role. Zero in on contributions that earned you recognition, awards, accolades or even a new role or promotion. Your responses will form your brand’s foundation and help prove you can actually do what you claim you can.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why you versus another candidate?
  • What have you consistently achieved in each role?
  • How have you moved the needle on revenue, profitability, or sales?
  • Did you generate new business, bring in new clients, or build strong relationships?

Next, translate your responses into a compelling summary section that, with a headline, helps the reader see how you are ideally suited to a role.

Some examples:

  1. Prove it

When pitching a new product to a specialist, you must be able to back up your claims to close the sale or cement the relationship. The same goes for resumes.

While a strong opening paragraph is critical, to impress and land an interview, you’ll need PROOF. In the world of applying for jobs, proof means measurable outcomes and metrics told within the context of a story.

Here are two examples:


Recruit, develop, and manage a team of eight representatives while increasing revenue and driving account growth.


Built distributor sales team of 8 from the ground up. Leveraged deep network spanning the SE to negotiate contracts with leading GPOs and IDNs against competition with 3X larger sales forces.


Direct accountability for demonstrating a high degree of initiative, salesmanship, and relationship building skills while managing six sales representatives charged with promoting and selling XXX Urology Table products in a multi-state territory. Achieved revenue growth to $5.5M between 2014 and 2017.


Grew annual revenues $0 to $5.5M in 3 years across a 6-state SE territory as XXX’s #1 ranked rep nationally for Urology Table Sales.

  1. Front-Load the Good Stuff

Unlike print, where the audience reads from left to right and top to bottom, we tend to jump around on screens. We start reading on the left and then jump around to whatever grabs our attention (open up your current resume on a mobile device and see for yourself!).

This means you have to front-load every bullet or sentence you write. This puts the most important part at the beginning, rather than the end of the sentence because there’s no guarantee the reader will get to the end.

Keep sentences to the point – two to three lines max – eliminating unnecessary details to lead off with what’s most impactful.


Led a conversion within a major hospital system specific to the Sports Medicine market. Result: Over $750K in incremental sales growth.


Increased revenues $2.5M by leading the conversion of a major hospital system, driving subsequent hospital conversions, and penetrating competitive accounts through C-level relationship building.


Identified, strategized and sold system-wide IDN purchasing agreement, driving a system-wide upgrade and conversion to the XXX defibrillator line. Achieved 121% growth over target in the first two quarters.


Achieved 121% growth over target in first 2 quarters by securing spot within XXX portfolio during GPO negotiations as region’s first Director of Strategic Accounts.

Designing documents to be read by software and appeal to humans

Resumes today will be read by humans first, then software, and then again by humans.

Those planning a 2019 job search will have the greatest success using job boards to find companies with hiring funds, figure out mutual connections within those companies, and network their way in until asked to submit their resume online.

From there, the resume will be read and hopefully re-read by people throughout the interview process.

When written well, documents that spell out the “why” and “how” of what makes you unique will not only be rich in ATS keywords but present a powerful case to the reader that you’re a perfect fit for the role!

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