Your resume is your make-it-or-break-it first impression. There are many resume faux-pas that guarantee that you wont even get an interview. I am sharing 6 ways to revamp your resume and so can get to the next stage of the interviewing process.
A resume that contains typos, font errors and that are inconsistent really speaks more about the sender than it's content. Rather than focus on the negative, I am sharing some simple straight-forward tips on how to review and update your resume.
1. Clean up the formatting
First impressions count, A LOT. Start revamping your resume by cleaning up the format.
You may choose to use different fonts this way:
Professional experience (heading)
Job Title & Dates you worked there (sub-heading)
paragraphs explaining your experience (main text)
More information on what you did (main text)
Whatever you choose, make sure the fonts are consistent: same fonts for all headings, subheadings and paragraphs for each experience in your resume. Not doing this makes you look sloppy and will not convince a potential hiring manager that you have great attention to detail.
While you're being consistent, use the same font family on your resume as your cover letter - consider your cover letter and your resume as a package. Your resume will ooze of professionalism if the two documents complement each other by using something as simple as coordinated fonts. It doesn't take much effort to do so but it will boost that first impression and everything counts. Print off a copy of your resume and go through it with a fine-tuned comb so you can catch spacing errors and spelling errors.
2. Focus on results
Instead of writing a laundry list of tasks that you did shift the perspective: focus on the impact of what you did. What was the result of your actions? Was the team better able to organize information because of your contribution? Did you drive up sales with your positive attitude? Did you suggest something that was innovative? Include these examples to boost your resume.
Instead of: Liaised with internal and external collabor
Rework that to say: Successfully built relationships with internal and external
Instead of: Read documents and gave feedback
Try: Provided timely advice to stakeholders
Check out this list of 185 Action verbs that'll make your resume shine.
3. Lose the header line
I personally haven't found the header line or the goal line at the top of the resume helpful e.g To obtain employment in X field; or To be hired as a Y in X company. If you are looking for a job and pushing out resumes, it is implied that you are looking to be hired. Save that important real estate for providing substance such as your experience and your competencies. This may be a personal preference but I prefer to focus on information that would be helpful to a hiring manager. Consider adding courses you have completed without going into too much detail. Remember to include only those that are relevant for the position for which you are applying.
4. Always tailor your resume
Having a generic longer version of your resume is quite helpful; however, for each specific job you apply to, make sure you tailor your resume to what they are looking for. This requires extra work each time you apply but this work will pay off. It becomes quite obvious that you haven't tailored your resume when none of your experience aligns with what is in the job posting. Use the buzz words that are included in the poster and make sure you demonstrate that you have the skill set and experience they are looking for. Make it easy for whoever is reviewing your resume to see the connections.
5. Chronological vs Competence-based Resume
A chronological resume is one that highlights your experience sequentially by date usually from your most recent to the least recent - this is the more commonly used format and if you are going for it, you should highlight your current experience and back track from there. Any experience that is more than 10 years old is generally not relevant to your resume unless it was something really spectacular. If you have large gaps in your resume due to unemployment or any other reason, a competence-based resume may be more appropriate. Here you highlight your competencies or experience. Be sure to still provide when you obtained the experience and be ready to explain the gaps in your resume in the cover letter. If you're looking for work and haven't worked in a while, volunteer experience is a great way to fill the gaps.
6. Use professional services
Investing in a professional to review and fine-tune your resume can be worth your while. Whether you're at the start of your career or contemplating a change from academia to government or government to private sector, a subject matter expert can help you figure out the industry-specific jargon and format. An under-utilized resource are alumni services. If you graduated from a university or college, there are often career support services that are often free or for a minimal fee. Draw also on friends who have these skills and have them take an honest look at your resume and be open to receiving feedback.
All the best with your job hunt!
You got this!