It pays to keep your resume refreshed and ready to go, even if you’re currently happy with your job. If you’re not happy, it’s obviously even more important.
The good news is that small changes can make a big difference. If you’re looking to give your resume a facelift, start by making these tweaks. You might be surprised with the results.
1. Replace Your Resume Objective With a Profile Statement
In the olden days, most resumes began with an objective, e.g. “To obtain a customer service position where I can utilize my skills to improve customer satisfaction and boost sales.” Kind of yawn-worthy, right? In today’s job market, you don’t have time and resume space to waste on the obvious.
Instead, consider replacing your resume objective with a profile statement. In a few lines, describe your skills, experience and goals. Focus on the problem the hiring manager wants to solve for this particular job: do they need to improve their sales numbers, retain customers, win market share? Highlight your relevant abilities and achievements, looking for opportunities to use keywords from the job description in the ad.
2. Fix Your Formatting
Generally speaking, simple is best when it comes to resume formatting. Choose a standard font in a size large enough to read, and set at least a one-inch margin on all sides. Use bold and italics sparingly to call out headings and sections.
Finally, keep it consistent: your resume, cover letter and other application materials should match each other in terms of font and formatting. Likewise, keep font sizes the same throughout.
3. Cut Down Your Bullet Points
“No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than five or six bullets in a given section,” writes Erin Greenawald at The Muse. “No matter how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them.”
Adhering to this rule will force you to be ruthless about what you include in each section, which can only help you showcase your most relevant experience.
4. Don’t Forget Volunteer Work
Especially if you’re just starting your career or trying to make a career change, volunteer work can help round out your resume. As with all your experience, be selective: highlight the work that shows off the skills and abilities that are most useful for the job.
Just starting out or trying to make a career change? Volunteer work can help round out your resume.
5. Check the Details
“I once worked with a student whose resume seemed incredibly strong, but he wasn’t getting any bites from employers,” writes Peter Vogt at Monster.com. “So one day, I jokingly asked him if the phone number he’d listed on his resume was correct. It wasn’t. Once he changed it, he started getting the calls he’d been expecting. Moral of the story: Double-check even the most minute, taken-for-granted details sooner rather than later.”
The lesson: proofread carefully, and don’t forget to check your contact information while you’re at it.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s the best change you’ve ever made to your resume? We want to hear from you. Share your resume tips in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.