Back in November, we announced a series called “Ask a recruiter,” asking readers to submit their questions. This month, we chose to tackle an FAQ: What can I do to improve my resume? Here’s everything you need to get it in tip-top shape.
We get tons of resumes every day and many candidates report finding it difficult to stand out. That said, there are a few things you can do to stand out from the crowd. Start off with a clean design that’s both easy-to-follow and visually appealing. That’s one way to get a recruiter’s attention. Always include your current contact information with email, telephone number and your LinkedIn profile (if applicable) near the top of the page for easy reference.
Another good rule of thumb is to keep the document brief, keeping it one to two pages tops. Be forthcoming with the basic dates (month/year) and information but don’t go overboard. It’s tempting to tell us your whole life story but save something for a potential interview!
If possible, provide a snapshot with numbers that quantify your success and experience. Focus on results, including things like “Managed a team of X people” or “Increased sales by X percent.” This helps us understand your accomplishments and envision job performance better than accolades out of context. “Proven track record” doesn’t mean much without knowing that the record shows. After that, it’s onto the meat and potatoes.
As you describe previous jobs and relevant skills, use strong, action verbs to showcase your responsibilities within each organization. Words like developed, achieved, produced, delivered, generated and so on. Don’t feel like you need to account for everything you did, again, we want to know what you’re like as an employee, not what you did day-to-day.
Once complete, double check your spelling and grammar before sharing with a friend, family member or mentor for input. It’s always helpful to get a second set of eyes. Finished document in hand, ensure this content matches up with your LinkedIn profile (if you have one) and what you enter into the online application. Consistency is important for follow up and future conversations. Until then, update as needed and always have a copy handy.
Have a question you’d like to see answered? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that this Q&A is not intended to answer individualized questions or to provide information about a particular job opening.