When searching for a new job, updating your resume can seem like a big task. Between summarizing your previous experience down to a few sentences and trying to squeeze everything onto one page, there’s a lot to consider. However, it’s best to make sure the basics are covered:
- Make sure it’s up to date with current contact info (and if your old email looks funky, get a new one)
- No typos, please. Use spell-check, grammar check and your Mom to proof-read it.
- Update your resume for your career stage. If you’ve got experience, note an objective that speaks to what you want to do next.
- Don’t bury the lead. Focus on your core skills and list them first.
Sifting through dozens of resumes is a reality for employers so when a particularly good one comes along, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Below is some advice on resume best practices that’ll help you stand out and land the job.
Telling Your (Job) Story
Your resume should be selling you as the perfect choice for the job at hand. It shouldn’t stand as just a list of your past job descriptions but rather a narrative of your job experience relevant to the job at hand. Tell your story in a powerful way by:
- Showcasing your best, most relevant experience and accomplishments at the top of your resume. This is what the hiring manager will see first and what will keep them curious to keep on reading.
- Using action-centered language and not littering your resume with canned phrases such as detail-oriented or people-person. These statements are too vague and don’t tell the employer much about you.
- Boosting your qualifications by adding a list of your skills that are relevant to the position such as specific tech skills or industry-related certifications.
- Highlighting keywords that matter to the employer you are interested in.
Even if your skill set perfectly matches you up for the job, it’s likely the employer won’t make it past your name if it doesn’t look good. Formatting your resume in an attractive, digestible way is just as important as the information on it. Be sure your resume won’t get skipped by:
- Using a basic, modern font like Arial or Times New Roman in a font size between 10 and 12. Readability is, of course, a must.
- Keeping each job experience to six or seven bullet points so your resume is easy to read and to pull out important information.
- Not cluttering your resume with photos or unnecessary visuals. It’s distracting to the reader and likely won’t add much substance.
Once you think you’ve perfected your resume, it’s important to remember it’s probably far from perfect. Proofreading is a vital step before you send your resume off to potential employers. Make your resume ready to send by:
- Avoiding tunnel vision and having a second, third and fourth pair of eyes edit your resume.
- Cutting down on any long run on sentences that’ll lose your reader.
- Trimming any unnecessary adjectives that don’t add anything other than fluff.
- Checking for typos and spelling errors.
- Editing the bulleted lists. One of the most common punctuation errors in resumes is inconsistent use of periods.
Job hunting is stressful enough without resume mistakes bogging your down. Following our tips for updating your resume will ensure you’re in tip top shape to land that dream job.