5 Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Your Resume

I’ve been doing a ton of interviews lately to fill some open positions in my department and have become inspired to share/vent my observations about the perfect résumé. Here are some tips from a hiring manager about what you can do to vastly improve the quality of your résumé and improve your chances of getting a job:

1. Ditch the Objective
I don’t get why people put this on their résumés. Obviously your objective is to get a job at my company (and if it’s not, it should be!), so why waste valuable white space telling me something I already know? Your résumé is there to tell me what I don’t know: your unique skills, past experience, education, etc. So focus on selling yourself and forget about outlining your objectives.

 

2. Forget Fancy Formatting
Unless you’re applying for a graphic design or other artistic position, don’t worry about using sophisticated templates for your résumé. I spend about 2 minutes scanning each résumé and don’t really pay much attention to how pretty it looks. Not to mention the fact that people have different versions of word processing software and sometimes fancy formatting doesn’t always appear the way it was intended. As a hiring manager, I’m a lot more interested in whether you have the right skill set and experience for the position than if you can use all the template features in Microsoft word.

 

3. Bullet Points Are Your Friend
I’ve seen many different résumé formats and have decided that my favorite is the bulleted list. Follow each job title by a list of 3 – 5 bullet points about specific duties or accomplishments you had at that position. I have a “master résumé” with 10 – 12 bullet points under each job title, 5 of which I then cut and paste into a new document customized to match the criteria of each specific position I’m applying for.

 

4. Always Include Dates
Recruiters pay attention to gaps in work history. Not including dates of employment makes it seem like you have something to hide and most likely it will come up in an interview anyway. It’s better to just be up front about gaps in employment. Put accurate dates on your résumé and address any issues in your cover letter.

 

5. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
I recently had to listen to a fellow interviewer complain for a full 30 minutes about typos in a potential candidate’s résumé so I thought I’d reiterate the importance of proofing your résumé as well as cover letter. Working in an editorial department, I admit bias on this point but typos and misspellings can show a lack of attention to detail, casts doubt on your intelligence level and can cause some hiring managers to infer a lack of respect and interest in their company (the thought being that if you really wanted the job, you’d take the time to proof your work instead of rushing through a stack of 50 résumés that need to be sent to 50 different companies).

The purpose of a résumé is to sell yourself to a potential company. If you just stick to the facts and forego the fancy stuff you’ll save yourself as well as the people who are reading it both time and effort. I think both parties can appreciate that.

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12 responses »

  1. ” 1. Ditch the Objective — I don’t get why people put this on their résumés. Obviously your objective is to get a job at my company (and if it’s not, it should be!), so why waste valuable white space telling me something I already know?

    Are you aware of how many opinions there are on resume`objectives ALONE? I guess you don’t. I myself have heard at least 5-6 different opinions from recruiters on resume`objectives and every one contradicts the other!

    For all the moaning that hiring managers like yourself do about resumes`, you might consider what a potential employee has to deal with: setting himself apart from the dozens or hundreds of resumes that are submitted for one job to one set of eye balls. Little wonder that people resort to toying with graphics and templates. They know full well that they’re trying to get the attention of a (extremely bored and smart-assed) hiring manager who has little clue WHO is best for the job!

    And NO, contrary to what you think, you have NO idea who to hire, even if you pretend that you do. A person who has “all the skills” and education for a job might be poison at a company. Conversely, one who is not exactly qualified, might be an excellent employee and a fast learner. Meanwhile, all you have to rely on is ONE flimsy piece of paper (that might be loaded with half-truths) and a 20 minute interview. The person just MIGHT be a fantastic actor, so a great interviewee hardly means that the candidate is worth much.

    Maybe if gate keepers like yourself got your priorities in order and realized that ONE SHEET OF PAPER can never summarize the experiences of a human being, you might realize how miserly anyones resume` is. Hence your judgmentalism helps no one, but it does tell me a whole lot about massively incompetent and arrogant most hiring drones are.

  2. I’m inclined to agree with TSfiles comments about the omission of Objectives in resumes. Too often prospective employees focus on making their resumes “short and sweet” and get away from substance( selling themselves short). First impression is a lasting impression.

  3. I would add, the length of your CV should be A4 2 pages, 3 pages if you have alot of experience. Dont waffle. And don’t write half a page on your hobbies.

    – Lee

  4. One small point. I love those resumes which have been made for the exact position. With the ease of printing, cutting and pasting, it is quite easy, yet impressive.

  5. Pingback: Kottu » Blog Archive » Consulting Resume Tips for Recent Graduates

  6. Pingback: Ten Resume Tips for Recent Graduates : Brazen Careerist

  7. As compared to a jobseeker writing her own resume, a resume written by a professional expert resume-writer would any day prove better.

    But

    Before sending that well-written resume to a recruiter, can a jobseeker figure-out in advance whether that resume will

     get ” read / rated / ranked and scored ” by recruiter ?

     get compared automatically with resumes of other applicants ?

     get her an interview-call ?

    She can – if she will only type ” Resume Rater ” in Google and download this software tool ( free and without login ) from any of the 35+ websites.

    Resume Rater mimics the ” resume – evaluation ” process of recruiters’ minds but does it in an unbiased / objective way.

    Regards

    hemen parekh

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