Are you currently searching for employment, or want a new job? Don’t wait for the new year to come. You need to start your search now. Begin by sprucing up your resume and giving it a revamp. There are many resume samples and resume templates you can find on the Internet to give yourself some inspiration and a leg up. However, you can also easily do it yourself by following these 5 steps.
1) Delete meaningless and silly words:
Problem: Your resume is filled with words like “passionate,” “driven,” “results-oriented,” “team-player,” etc:
- It’s tempting to fill up your resume with “confidence inspiring” words, but doing so will only hurt your resume. Even if you have a significant amount of relevant experience, populating your resume with words like “passionate, “driven,” or “results-oriented” will only serve to dilute and pollute it.
- Why? Those words don’t mean anything without context.
- Generally speaking, people are using these words to put lipstick on a pig. Your resume should be direct and to the point. As with all good writing, it’s important to “show, not tell.” If your resume is simply “telling” the hiring manager that you’re passionate, driven, and results-oriented, that literally means nothing to them.
Solution: Delete these words wherever you see them, and replace them with actual job duties and accomplishments:
- Suggestion 1: Instead of telling the hiring manager that you’re “passionate,” give them an example of a project that you spearheaded to increase company profits — that kind of information relays your passion much more clearly.
- Suggestion 2: Instead of telling the hiring manager that you’re “driven,” give an example of how you went above and beyond the call of duty complete a project or support another teammate.
2) Quantify your resume:
Problem: Your resume has no numbers specifying your achievements and the scope of your responsibilities:
- If you haven’t used numbers to describe your work experiences, you’re still doing too much “telling” and not enough “showing.” Without numbers to help define the scope of your abilities and accomplishments, your resume will be vague, unclear, and boring.
- Even information like the size of the establishment you worked in can provide the hiring manager with valuable insight into your previous work experience, and give your resume a little more character.
Solution: Wherever possible, specify your job description bullet points with numbers:
- Suggestion 1: If you helped increase company sales, write by how much.
- Suggestion 2: If you managed employees or trained new employees, write down how many.
- Suggestion 3: If you saved the company money, write down how you did it, and how much you saved.
- Suggestion 4: Did you manage a budget? Write down how big it was.
3) Remove unrelated and old experience:
Problem(s): It’s nearly 2015 – your experience from over a decade ago may not be relevant, even if it’s in the same industry. Meanwhile, if you’re applying for a job that has no relation to your previous work experience, you’ve probably included totally irrelevant information.
- Hiring managers are looking for relevant resumes – period.
- As a rule of thumb, your resume should only be 1-2 pages long. If you’re including experience that is over a decade old, it’s likely that your resume is either really long, or you’ve been out of work and need some information to pad your resume with.
- If you’re trying to switch careers, writing a resume can be tricky. Many of the skills and abilities you have won’t be relevant for a different career track, and including unrelated job responsibilities will weaken your resume.
- You will need to get creative and find places where your knowledge, skills, and abilities overlap in a new career.
Solution: Delete experiences older than a decade. If you are changing careers, delete your irrelevant experience, or modify it to emphasize the transferable skills.
- Suggestion 1: If you’ve been out of work, use a combination style resume to conceal your work experience gaps while relaying your relevant experience.
- Suggestion 2: Read the hiring manager’s job description carefully, and consider whether you current skill knowledge and skill set overlaps with their requirements. Present the best spin possible on your resume – even if you don’t have the skills yet, you may be easily trainable because you have foundational skills (such as software skills, customer service skills, management skills, etc.)
4) Make a new version of your resume for each job:
Problem: You wrapped up writing your resume and think you’re finished. Actually, you’ve still got work to do. Your resume needs to be ultra-specific, and ultra-targeted.
- If the key to buying property is “location, location, location,” then the key to getting an interview is “relevance, relevance, relevance.” Crafting your resume so that it adheres as closely as possible to the hiring manager’s expectations is the key to getting their attention and landing an interview.
Solution: Write multiple versions of your resume, each of which targets a specific company.
- Suggestion 1: Find the hiring manager’s job description, and sprinkle their keywords and phrasing into your resume. NOTE: This does not mean plagiarizing or copying what they’ve written – simply strategically employing important keywords to capture their attention.
- Suggestion 2: Draft your resume so that the skills and abilities they are calling for are towards the top of your resume, where they’ll instantly be seen.
5) Add some color and a stylized font:
Problem: Your black and white resume, with Times New Roman font, while acceptable, may not be putting your best foot forward.
- It’s not a problem per-se, but a black and white resume with standard font doesn’t really have a lot of “oomph.” You could increase your chances of getting noticed by styling up your resume a little bit.
- But don’t go overboard!
Solution: Using a different font and adding a splash of color to your black and white resume can be a good way of making it “pop” out from your competition.
- Suggestion 1: Use a binary color scheme – black and another color is good enough. Use the color on your headings and keep your bullet points black.
- Suggestion 2: Keep it classy. Red, blue, and orange with comic sans won’t get you a job, unless you’re applying for a position at a clown college.
If you follow these suggestions, your resume will be ready for 2015. Don’t hesitate to apply now — get in before everyone else makes their new years resolutions!
Author: Mark Slack is a resume expert and career adviser consulting for the smartest resume template creator, resumegenius.com. He is an avid hiker and biker, and is fluent in Mandarin. You can follow him at @MarkWSlack.