Why not take a few minutes to see if there are any changes you should make to your resume? A good cleaning every now and then (we recommend constant resume upkeep) is good for even the most storied of resumes. A look at our top resume advice couldn’t hurt either. So then, what can you do to spruce it up?
1. Check Your Spelling and Grammar
When a job is especially competitive, employers simply don’t have the time to give each and every resume an in-depth analysis. As a result, they’re looking for reasons to throw out some resumes and narrow the talent pool. If your potential employer is a stickler for spelling or grammar and you make a small mistake, it could cost you the job.
Make sure any bullets under your current position use the present tense, and any past positions use past tense. After all, you aren’t still in charge of anything at a past position, right? Do use action words, but don’t use them as multiple bullets under one position. Repetition of the same words over and over can make it seem as if there wasn’t any variety in your responsibilities.
2. Stick with the Basics
Although a lovingly crafted resume with fancy formatting and a recent headshot might look great, that isn’t what most employers are looking for. They want to know about your experience, not your design skills (unless you’re applying for a design position, of course). You don’t want your formatting to distract from your accomplishments.
In addition, the majority of resumes you send out online will be analyzed by computers first and people second. A heavily formatted resume is difficult for computers to read. So make it straightforward and legible, for both your human recruiter and your robot analyzer. And when a computer autofills an application based on your uploaded resume, make sure to review the result. If it looks strange on your screen, it will look strange on a potential employer’s screen as well.
3. Tailor Your Resume for the Job
Your resume should change depending on where you are in your career and what job you are applying for. If you’re just now joining the workforce , it’s understandable that you won’t have as much to put on your resume. However, never leave a resume section blank. Add any information regarding the organizations you’ve been in, as well as any community involvement and awards you’ve received. Your education should go toward the top.
However, once you’ve been in the workplace for a while, your education (while still important) is secondary to your professional accomplishments. In general, start out with your name and mission statement, and follow up with your positions. Under each position, bullet what your responsibilities were. Next, put in any community involvement and awards. Leave education for last, followed by technical skills.
Make a master resume document including everything you’ve ever done, and copy/paste from it as required by each position. If it’s a writing position, you’ll want to include any writing experience. However, if it’s a programming position, your freelance writing stint might not be quite as important.
4. Join LinkedIn
Regardless of whether your desired position requires a college degree or not, we recommend getting a LinkedIn account. Your LinkedIn profile is a recruiting resource that is always available. Even if you aren’t actively pushing your resume, having an updated LinkedIn profile ensures potential employers can find you. It also gives them something professional to find when they run an online search on you.