To ensure you remain competitive in the current market, it's crucial that your resume is up to date and follows industry standards. Below is a list of things you can do to improve your resume - you can also utilize our Resume Score tool to see how your resume ranks, and receive helpful tips and feedback.
1. Write a Summary instead of an Objective
Writing an objective is no longer necessary as it should already be clear from your job experience what your goals are and what you're hoping to achieve from pursuing the position. Instead, write a short, detailed summary highlighting your top accomplishments, experiences, and job history - focusing on really making yourself stand out. The only time an objective may be needed is if it's not clear from your previous experiences.
2. List Relevant Information at the Top
The experience that is most relevant to the job should always be at the top of your resume, even if it's not your most recent experience. Recruiters only spend 6 seconds reviewing a resume, so it's important to make sure they see the experience that best corresponds to the job description. You can also divide your experience into sections like “related experience” or “additional qualifications.” Depending on the job/industry, it may be necessary to list your education and certifications at the top of your resume.
3. Include Keywords
To ensure that your resume doesn't get skipped over, including relevant keywords is crucial. Keywords are the words listed throughout the job description that tell you what type of skills, experience, and personal qualities a company is looking for in its ideal candidate. Most companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) when sorting through resumes. These systems pick up keywords and then organize and highlight the most relevant resumes. If your resume does not have the right keywords listed throughout it, the ATS will be less likely to select it, even if you are the right candidate for the position. Another thing to note about keywords is that you need to use current terminology for your particular industry. For example, Forbes mentions replacing outdated words like “personnel” with the current term, "talent acquisition." You can find current keywords listed on job descriptions, LinkedIn pages, social media, and the company's website/About Us page.
4. Make it short and impactful
Every word on your resume needs to count. While keeping your resume at one page is ideal, for those with extensive experience in the workforce, two pages are considered appropriate. Either way, your resume needs to be written clearly and to the point. One way to do this is to select strong action verbs and start each paragraph/bullet point with them. Don't use unnecessary filler words like “responsible for” or “duties include,” as they diminish the quality of your abilities. Organize each thought into a concise format with information that states what you have done and are capable of doing. Here are some examples of how to structure your information with action verbs. Get a full list of potential action verbs from our Resume Score tool.
5. Provide Measurable Results
Numbers and percentages speak volumes on a resume, they quantify the impact you had in previous roles. For example, you could discuss how you raised sales by 50% while you were in the position, or how you were able to reduce company spending by 10% while it still performed at top efficiency - this helps add variety to your bullet points. Check out these great examples of ways to list data on your resume. One thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it with numbers, be sure to create a balance of stats and descriptions in your resume so that it flows naturally.
6. Focus on your accomplishments
While it's important to discuss what you did in each role, it's even more impacting to discuss what you accomplished in these roles. Focus on achievements; begin the first sentence of each bullet point highlighting your accomplishments in that role
- list examples of steps you took and provide measurable information (this includes numbers/data as previously mentioned). You could also create a section that is solely focused on your achievements where you list out each of your major wins. Another great example is to list a headline at the top of your resume that is eye-catching, describing who you are and what you've done, such as “Award-Winning Project Manager.”
7. Make sure your contact information stands out
You want to make the recruiter's job as easy as possible, so be sure to make your contact information easily visible and accessible. There are a variety of options to include like live links to your LinkedIn profile, blogs, and/or social media pages. Be sure to include your phone number and email address - you could also add a live link to your email so that it's easier for the recruiter to contact you. Listing your address is not as necessary; putting your city, state, and zip code is sufficient.
8. Keep it clean
Make sure that the font and layout are easy to read and understand. Choose a clean, professional font and keep your margins at a standard format between 0.5″ and 1.″ Don't have too many distractions on your resume - multiple charts, fonts, colors, etc., only have what is necessary; this will help improve resume readability. If you need ideas for design and format, it's helpful to look at resume examples from your industry and utilize resume builder websites to help you put it all together.
9. Use Resume Score Tool
You can also use our Resume Score tool to tailor your resume for a specific position helping yourself stand out! This A.I. tool analyzes any resume and provides job-specific feedback based on various job descriptions. The Relevance Score algorithm produces suggestions for keywords, skill set and qualifications so your resume will attract the attention of hiring managers.
Taking the time to format your resume in a way that presents you and your experiences in the best possible light will improve your chances of being noticed and potentially interviewed. Make your resume strong, keep it simple, and always lead with and highlight your best attributes.