Did your New Year’s resolutions include getting a new job in the coming year? If so, you’ll need to make sure your resume is up to scratch.
In fact, even if you don’t anticipate looking for work anytime soon, it’s a good idea to modernize your resume. You never know when an opportunity may come up — or a layoff loom — and it’s important to be ready to make the leap.
1. Cut the Objective
Back in the day, objective statements were an essential part of a standard resume template. Not anymore.
“The truth is, your objective is clear,” writes Heather Rothbauer-Wanish at TopResume. “If you are sending out your modern resume, your objective is to land an interview. An objective statement serves no purpose and should be eliminated from today’s resumes. Rather than wasting this prime real estate at the top of the resume, be sure to capitalize on it with other valuable information.”
2. Create a Summary Statement
What should you do with that freed-up space at the very top of your resume? Write a summary statement. As opposed to an objective, which focused on your goals, a good summary statement tells an employer why they should hire you.
“In about one to four sentences, highlight your most relevant strengths, skillset, and core competencies that are unique to you as a candidate,” advises Alison Doyle at The Balance. “In particular, demonstrate how you will add value to the company.”
3. Write in a Human Voice
Standard resume-speak can take the most exciting achievements and make them boring. Instead, try writing your resume in real language and telling a story about your skills and accomplishments. This is what Liz Ryan has coined The Human-Voiced Resume, and it’s a lot more engaging.
At Forbes, she explains:
What’s a Human-Voiced Resume? It’s a resume on one or two pages that sounds like a regular resume, only with a human voice. Instead of throw-uppy zombie language like “Results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation” you’ll write about yourself in the first person, the way humans do.
See her column for an example and more tips.
4. Make Your Accomplishments Stand Out
What’s the most important thing you’ve achieved recently in your career? Make sure that hiring managers see it, even if they’re in a hurry, by putting it right up top. It also pays to quantify your accomplishments by including metrics. Numbers, dollar signs and percentages stand out even when the reader is skimming.
5. Be Prepared to Personalize Your Resume for Every Job
Your resume doesn’t need to include every job you’ve ever held — in fact, it shouldn’t, especially once you’ve been working for a few years. Instead, it should provide the experience and skills that are most relevant to the job for which you’re applying.
This might mean preparing a few versions of your resume and tailoring each to the specific job opening, or modifying it from one central template each time. Just make sure that you have an eagle-eyed friend review your resume before you submit it for consideration. It’s easy to overlook typos, irrelevant experience, etc., when you’re applying for multiple jobs.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you tweaked your resume and achieved big results? We want to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.