3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Resume Instantly
The good news is a recruiter wants to take a look at your resume. The bad news is she wants it by tomorrow, and you haven’t touched it in years! You know you don’t have time to rewrite it entirely, but where do you even start? Not to worry, we’ve come up with a guide to help you decide which areas of your resume will pack the biggest punch:
1. Find a straightforward template.
One of the best ways to increase the professionalism of your resume is to give it a quick, 80’s movie montage-style makeover. Except that by this, we really mean that you give your resume a makeunder. If your resume is guilty of having unique fonts, graphics, or a complicated design with lots of tables, then it’s time to let your content do the talking rather than relying on an outdated, over-designed resume to sell your experience. There are a lot of templates out there that keep it simple in terms of design that will work, as long as they avoid using crazy colors, fonts, graphics, or sub-sections that you don’t need.
2. Write a strong summary.
Most people overlook this small-but-mighty section of the resume, which means they’re missing a huge opportunity to present their case to a recruiter as to why they should be considered for the role. No doubt you’ve heard mixed reviews about including an introduction, and we tend to agree that no summary is better than a bad one. However, when they’re done right, they can singlehandedly give your resume the push it needs in the right direction.
What makes a strong summary, you ask? Start by scanning the job description of the role (or roles) you’re applying for and see what matters to them. Your focus should stay on what they’re looking for, not listing every accomplishment from your career. Once you’ve done some research, start by introducing who you are as a professional and what your experience level is, then move into the relevant skills you possess that align with the roles you’re looking at. Keep this short and sweet—no more than five lines.
3. Add 1-2 accomplishments per job.
The core of resume writing these days is focusing on your career highlights as opposed to listing daily responsibilities. This means if your resume focuses entirely on what you did in general without talking about what you do really well, then your resume isn’t doing a good job of marketing your experience. You might not have time to edit every single bullet but parsing your resume to identify 1-2 areas per job entry where you can talk about process improvement, leadership roles, or provide metrics that support your success will improve your resume significantly.
Remember, we’re not necessarily talking about including every award you’ve ever won here (although that’s great if you can name drop a couple). What we are talking about is taking that next step beyond just listing what you did daily to discuss what skills you used to accomplish that task and why it matters to your organization as a whole.
As a bonus, I’m going to give you an extra tip that you already know—check your work! Many people spend too much time on the “big picture” aspects of their resume that they simply forget to double-check their capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Do yourself a favor and run your resume through a spelling/grammar checker that will help you catch things you missed in your frantic scramble to fix up your resume. You’ll be thankful that you did when it finds that one little error that you missed.
If you’d like a few more quick tips on how to improve your resume, we encourage you to submit your resume for a complimentary critique on our website. Or, if you have a little more time and want a shiny new resume, then check out our resume packages to get started today!