If you are beginning a job search, considering a new position or trying to keep your application materials current just in case, you probably started the process by digging out your old resume.
Unfortunately, your resume is a little bit dustier and less impressive than you remember.
What should you do? Here are five tips to rework your resume and make it shine.
1. Brainstorm to Uncover Your Hidden Talents
If you are staring at your existing resume, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. You may forget about some of your top selling points simply because you are only looking at what is in front of you. Set your resume to the side, take out a blank sheet of paper and think bigger. Write down anything that comes to mind: Soft skills, technical skills, full and part-time experience, certifications, volunteer work, freelancing, side projects, professional accomplishments and awards. Include items even if you don’t believe they are relevant. Although you won’t use everything, you may be surprised to discover ideas and new connections to make your resume more impressive.
2. Dump the Fluff
Most resumes contain lots of nice sounding but meaningless phrases such as team player, goal oriented and motivated. Scan through your document and delete any overused buzzwords. Then, rewrite those sections using clear and descriptive language that makes an impact. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our blog post, “These Power Words Can Take Your Resume From Good to Great!“
3. Add Numbers and Statistics
Even well-worded statements won’t provide a true picture of your past achievements. Use specific data to make your successes jump off the page. For example, instead of, “Pioneered an innovative and effective email marketing campaign to increase sales,” write, “Pioneered an innovative email marketing campaign to increase online sales by 45 percent over four months.”
4. Simplify Formatting
Your resume should look neat and professional, but don’t go overboard with an overly complicated design. Many companies use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software to prescreen applications. Graphics, tables, text boxes, frilly fonts and fancy characters can all result in computer errors. You don’t want that to happen. Make your document easy to read for both humans and machines.
5. Get a Second Opinion
Having a someone – a friend, a relative or a career counselor – read over your application materials is a smart idea. They may point out something you missed or catch a typo or misspelling. However, as part of your resume overhaul, take this strategy a step further. Ask someone to look at your resume for only 30 seconds. When time is up, have them tell you three things they remember. Are those the top items you want a hiring manager to notice? Did you get your message across? If you answered, “Not quite,” to either question, you may need to continue making revisions.
Could You Use Help Perfecting Your Resume?
Our professional recruiters can assist you with your application materials and provide expert job-hunting advice. Are you ready to get to work? Learn more about partnering with the recruiting experts FirstStaff today!