Once you improve your resume, you will be surprised how easily you can slide through the pile of applications and into the interview phase. Nowadays, most employers will first meet you through your resume before they actually meet you in person. That list of work experience, accomplishments, and skills are all they will have to judge you on before they decide either that they’ll pass or you’re practically in. So it’s essential that you make sure that small mistakes on your resume are not preventing you from landing your dream job. Here are 10 tips on how you can improve your resume so you can land the job that you are more than qualified for.
1. Check, Double Check, and Triple Check
Your resume could be dismissed automatically if there are grammar and spelling errors. That misplaced ‘s’ behind a singular noun or a random phonetic ‘f’ are small mistakes but they could also be the difference between an employer reading through your resume more or just immediately tossing it in the trash. Having correct spelling and grammar will instantly improve your resume and its quality. Make sure to always use spell check or a grammar app before you hit send.
2. Add Statistics and Facts to Your Job Descriptions
You may have been friendly and helpful when you were a server last year or you might have learned important leadership skills when you were the president of your school club. But these descriptions can feel vague and won’t really show off how impressive your skill set really is. Instead, if you can say you have regularly processed and collected guests’ payments using a point-of-sales system or you have led and organized fifteen service events including specific event names, you should write that down! Your future employers don’t know how amazing you are yet but they can understand industry terms and numerical results.
3. Keep Your Descriptions Concise
Your resume is absolutely the place where you should brag about yourself. But this is not the place to list your twelve different responsibilities as a retail associate. You should only keep the most impressive and most relevant details in your previous work experience because just being on time is not a remarkable skill as much as it is a job requirement. Think of the work experience section as a list of previous work accomplishments so you will become more selective about what you want to show off. Each job should only have four to five bullet points so you don’t overcome your employer with descriptions.
4. Activate Your Verbs
There’s a reason why your job descriptions are in bullet points. You want to keep your resume concise so your reader doesn’t need to work too hard to understand what kind of employee you would be. Skip the repetitive ‘I’ statements and use active verbs to describe your responsibility. Your future employer can read through your resume quickly and pick out which past duties are related to your dream job.
5. Make It Relevant
Speaking of related to your dream job, you should customize your skill set and job description to match the responsibilities of the job you applied for. Skip over the irrelevant information about memorizing daily specials in favor of servicing multiple tables in an efficient and orderly manner if you want to showcase your multi-tasking skills. All your previous duties have given valuable experiences but not all of them are applicable and pertinent to the specific job you want next.
6. Variety is the Spice of Life
You can only ‘maintain’ and ‘organize’ so many times before your employer starts to feel like they’re seeing doubles or triples. Give your verbs some variety and rephrase some of your bullet points if they sound repetitive. You want to show your employer your vast range of skills and repeating the same point over and over again won’t reinforce anything.
7. Use your resources!
Your college probably has a career center that offers resume-related services. Your friend group probably has at least one person who is already killing the game and has landed a job. Either way, you have resources at your disposal and they are basically free. (Sure, your friend might ask for a coffee in return so it’s not entirely free. But coffee is a small price to pay for friendly advice.) Whoever you ask will have valuable information about their own personal pitfalls while writing their resume. Learning from others’ experience can teach you what you should avoid doing on your own.
8. Experience Can Come From ANYWHERE
If your professional career has just begun, you might think you don’t have a lot of information to write down on your resume. But you might be surprised at where your work experience can come from. If you were an active volunteer at your local animal shelter or you provided subtitles in Korean dramas, you did not realize at the time but you were actively and eagerly adding to your resume. What you considered fun and games were helping you build communication and social networking skills and are absolutely helpful when it comes to building your resume. Look back at what you have done in your life and you will be amazed at how much you have already done and learned!
9. Showcase Your Skills
At the bottom of your resume, it might be tempting to write a small list of your skills, especially the ones that weren’t in your work experience section. Don’t do it! Listing your ability to multi-task or be efficient and hardworking does not tell your employer much about you. If you want to show off your ability to multi-task, you need to incorporate that skill into your work experience description. Reserve your skills section as specific, relevant skills that will elevate you in your employer’s eyes. Do you speak a second language, if you want to work in customer service? What graphic design software do you have experience with if you want to be a graphic designer? This is your time to brag about those unique skills that will make you so much better at this job than anyone else.
10. Make It Pretty
You just nailed your perfect resume so let’s decorate! Now decorating does not mean glitter bombs and fancy doodles everywhere on your resume. Your goal is to create a resume that will show your employer that you are serious and experienced. Clean sections and borders can greatly polish that stark white piece of paper and you will be amazed at how professional you will look once your resume is tidied and refined. Now all you need to do is nail your interview and that job’s yours!