5 Simple and Quick Fixes for Improving Your Resume
Whether you are putting together your resume from scratch, editing an existing version or seeking the help of a professional resume writer and giving it a final review, there are simple and quick fixes to apply to give your resume an improved quality. Remember that employers will only give a resume a brief glance so make sure you follow these rules.
- Resume Length
The notion of a 1-page resume is a myth, and while 1 page is appropriate for entry-level positions, most resumes are getting longer as employers are getting more candidates than before and want to see real details to be able to qualify you.
I used to work with one of the best advertising copywriters in the world who would get $114,000 for a day’s work (his copy sold that much more products) and what he told me is absolutely true for resumes: your message must be compelling and simple to read. That means avoid having a 1-page resume that is dense and hard to read or a 2-page resume that does not showcase your skills.
If you have over 10 years of experience, you should probably have a 2-page resume and it is very common for executives to have 3-page resumes.
- Make your resume legible
To meet the “simple to read” test, a resume needs to be balanced with quality content and offer a welcoming appearance. No one enjoys reading blocks of heavy text. Make it easy on the reader’s eyes.
Use paragraphs for roles and responsibilities and bullets for accomplishments so they are easy to find. Use white space to help place content into consumable formats and to make your resume more inviting to read. Creating relevant headlines for the different sections of your resume and using features, such as bold and italics, to emphasize words will also help.
- Review and revise keywords
If you haven’t thought about incorporating keywords into your resume, it’s time to do so. More and more employers today are resorting to scanning technology to help filter the most relevant resumes for initial review. Few organizations have the time and resources to manually review each of the hundreds (perhaps, thousands) of resumes received each day. If your resume does not contain the appropriate keywords, it’s not likely that you will make the mark for consideration.
At the same time, make sure the keywords you include are used in context and are the most relevant. For instance, there are variations to words. While you may be using a keyword that the employer is also calling out with the scanning technology, you have to ask yourself whether there is a variation that you need to consider to bolster your presence. Be careful with abbreviations screeners may not be familiar with so spell them out.
- Check for consistency.
A consistent format can make your resume more polished. For instance, if you lead your work experience information with the name of your former employer, followed by the title held and dates you were employed, you need to continue with that format throughout your resume. Inconsistencies can make your resume appear clumsy.
Also watch out for the terminology and spelling of words. If you are a PR professional, you may often use the term “press release” or “news release.” Select one and stick with it throughout your resume. Also, words such as “health care” and “healthcare” are both correct, but it should be consistent on your resume.
- Get a second pair of eyes.
You can never go wrong with reviewing your resume another round for errors. Typos are a huge turn off for many employers. Typos leave one with a sense of lack of professionalism. Review your resume from top to bottom one additional round before submitting it. Additionally, be careful of common errors around the use of certain words such as “whether” and “weather” or “affect” and “effect” as to whether you have chosen the correct word. It’s best to get a second pair of eyes as the reviewer will have a fresh perspective and catch problem areas that you may completely glaze over given you’ve been working on it for a lengthy time.
These simple and quick fixes can make a difference between your resume making the cut, or falling into the “trash” or “delete” pile. These are simple adjustments and changes you can make to your resume to help increase its success and come across as a polished professional before you step through the doors for that face-to-face meeting.