Is your resume marketing your talents and skills to help you get the jobs you want to build your career? For most people, the answer is no. When it comes to creating a resume, most people follow basic formatting to include a very dry list of their past job experiences, educational degrees, certifications, and skills.
With some simple strategies, you can do better. Formatting your resume, aligning it to specific jobs you’re applying for, and highlighting the skills and results employers want can help your resume stand out. Here are 10 strategies you can use to improve your resume now.
1. Begin with the Basics.
You’ll find many different resume templates, and most will suffice. Just be sure that whatever format you choose includes all of the necessary segments: Contact information, education, job experience, and skills or certifications.
2. Limit Your Resume to One Page.
Many people – especially as they begin to accumulate more job experience – begin to question whether resumes can be extended to a second page. Managers see a lot of resumes, and the truth is they are unlikely to read multiple pages. For that reason, keep your resume to a single page.
3. Choose a Format that Accommodates Skimming.
Recruiters see dozens or even hundreds of resumes. Hiring managers often don’t see your resume until you step in their office for an interview. Resumes are meant to be read quickly. Make sure your resume is easy to skim by using different sections, clear headings, and short sentences and phrases.
4. Align the Resume with the Job You’re Applying for.
The goal of a resume is to demonstrate why you are uniquely qualified for a position. When you’re sending out your resume, take the time make sure your resume emphasizes the skills and experience that makes you right for a particular role.
5. Keep Automated Systems in Mind.
As many as 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies report using applicant tracking systems. That means the first “read” of your resume is often electronic. To avoid being filtered out, your resume should include keywords from the job post, as well as clearly labeled sections, such as “Work Experience” so the computer program properly reads and categorizes information.
6. Focus on Results and Skills.
One thing that can set your resume apart is focusing not on job titles and tasks, but on the results you have generated and the skills you have gained through your work experience. Focusing your resume on results and skills we create a clearer picture of your professional capabilities and make you stand out from other applicants with similar work histories.
7. Don’t Occupy too Much Space with Educational Information.
For the most part, employers only need to know that you have the needed education and certifications to do the job you’re being hired for. Unless you are a new graduate, or in a field that places a heavy emphasis on educational credentials, don’t devote too much of the valuable space on your resume to your educational background.
8. Always have an Editor.
Spelling mistakes, typos, and grammatical errors can get your resume tossed aside fast. In addition to proofreading yourself, have someone else look over your resume, as well. In addition to finding errors, they can help verify that your resume aligns with the job you’re applying for.
9. Edit Your Digital “Resumes”, Too.
Recruiters and hiring managers aren’t only looking over your resume. They’re also checking you out online and on social media. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and in line with your current job goals, and make sure other social media profiles present you in a way that won’t be objectionable to potential employers.
10. Remember to Update Your Resume.
One of the biggest resume mistakes people make is that they keep a file of their resume that they immediately send off when they are ready to apply for a job. Your resume is a living document that should be updated regularly to reflect your growing professional skills and your evolving career goals.