Categories: Academics

10 Tips To Improve Your Resume

Getting a job can be difficult these days, so it’s important that your resume stands out! But what do employers really want to see? Employers actually spend less than a minute evaluating your resume, so catch their attention by learning how to tailor your resume to fit their needs. Read on to learn the best resume tips that will help you get a callback!

1. Do NOT Use A Template

Avoid using resume wizards and resume software templates, for many reasons. First off, they can be difficult to edit. Secondly, they do not allow you to present your information in the most effective format. And most importantly, they tend to have flashy or unwanted designs that take away from the content of your resume. Keep your resume short, sweet, and to the point!

2. Keep It One Page

Especially if you are a college student or recent graduate, keep your resume one page in length, no more, no less. Why? Because employers don’t want to read your entire life story, they have very little time as it is. All they want to do is locate the most pertinent information about you in the fastest way possible. So keep your resume at one page, even if that means you have to cut some stuff out.

And as a bonus tip, if you are struggling to figure out which information to cut from your lengthy resume, think about WHO you are giving your resume to and what they want to read. For example, say you are applying to a magazine for a staff writing position. You can probably cut out your job experience as a lifeguard in high school. Get the point? Also, I recommend keeping one main resume that you can title “everything,” which contains all of the job experience, degrees, achievements, and certificates you have ever received (it will be longer than a page). Then, when you are applying for a job, you can tailor your resume to fit whatever position you are applying for.  

3. Make The Layout Clear and Organized

Again, your employer wants to easily scan your resume for specific details in the quickest way possible. They do not want to sit there and read blocky paragraphs about why you are amazing or struggle to find out which college you attended because everything is in bold. So, use bullets, bold, capitalization, and underlining sparingly to call attention to the most important information. Also, make sure to leave some white space on your resume to create an uncluttered look. 

4. Ask Someone To Proofread It

Remember, your resume is an extension of yourself. When you show up to a job interview, you probably dress nicely and use your manners, right? Well, it won’t matter how great you look after your employer sees that your resume is littered with typos and misspellings. Maintain professionalism in every aspect of the job hunt, including a clean resume! So head on down to the career center at your college and ask your counselor to give your resume a look over. Adjust your resume accordingly, and welcome any edits they may have. The more eyes looking at it, the better! 

5. Formatting and Headings Are Everything

The way you format your resume is extremely important. Present your information in reverse chronological order, with your newest job or internship first. When thinking about your resume, there are several headings that are commonly used. Make sure to include headings such as:

  1. Education: Where you go to school, your expected graduation date, your GPA, and any other notable achievements you’ve received at your university.
  2. Experience: List all relevant jobs or internships that you have obtained.
  3. Skills: List all of the skills in your “tool belt.” For example, write down that you know how to use Excel, Adobe, and Mesitertask. If you are applying to technical jobs, a list that you have lab experience or that you know how to use R programming.
  4. Activities: List any clubs, volunteer experience, or sports that you partake in. This will give your employer a little bit of insight into who you are.
  5. Accomplishments: Maybe you have a paper published or won an academic award. List it here!

6. Utilize Your Action Verbs

Start off sentences with action verbs to convey a sense of enthusiasm and achievement! Common ones include: Advised, Analyzed, Coordinated, Created, Managed, Organized, Performed, Researched, and Wrote.

Now you’re ready for action!

See Also

7. Keep The Font Simple

Believe it or not, but some people still use Comic Sans and it blows my mind! Nothing screams “unprofessional” like a random font. So, choose a basic, easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Arial in 10-14 point size and you’ll already be off to a great start!

8. Tailor Your Content To Your Strongest Qualities

Take a moment to really think about yourself and the message you want your resume to communicate. Then, select 3 core qualities that define you AND are of importance to the position you are applying to. Make sure that your resume focuses on the accomplishments and skills that reflect these core qualities. 

9. Kick Color To The Curb

Yes, the world is a colorful place, but your resume doesn’t have to be! You might be thinking that you need a pop of pink to really stand out, but it will have quite the opposite effect. Color only takes away from the content of your resume, and oftentimes it can be distracting or even unprofessional. So keep your resume simple and use black ink. If you just can’t stand being color restricted, then go ahead and use a dark blue ink for headings, but sparingly! 

10. More Resume Myths Debunked

Before you go, let me help you debunk a couple more resume myths:

  1. You need a photo of yourself on your resume. Lose the selfies and headshots, they’re just not professional.
  2. You need to include personal info on your resume. Never reveal confidential personal info, such as your social security number, driver’s license, or credit card numbers. Also, Don’t list your own website if it includes personal information.
  3. Your list of references goes on your resume. No, it’s a separate document.
  4. You don’t need a physical copy of your resume anymore. Nope, not true. Even though we live in a digital world, make sure to always carry a physical backup resume with you into every interview.

Did any of these tips help improve your resume? Were you able to land an interview? Share your story with us in the comments below!

Feature Image Source:
Amber Reinhart

Author | Poli Sci & English Major | Chihuahua Fanatic | Avid Soccer Player | #QueenToStephenKing | “Be brave, Bright. Do your best.” |

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