When was the last time you refreshed your resume? If it’s been a while, your resume may have grown stale and less effective. Whether you’ve been out of the job search circus for a while and you’re looking to get back in or you’ve been applying with little success, these 5 easy steps can help you take an old, stale resume and turn it into something great!
1. Remove the Fluff: We get it, you exhibited leadership skills here, there, and everywhere. You were detail oriented in any position you ever had and you’re not afraid to show it! But does redundancy have any place on your resume? You may think your fluffed-up resume makes you look more accomplished, but what it’s really doing is making your resume the longest in a pile of others. Rather than having someone comb through pages and pages of repeated content, try eliminating any fluff from your resume.
2. Highlight Your Achievements & Accolades: Your work achievements and accolades do not count as fluff! As long as you are focusing on specificity, that is. Say you completed a flawless design of an application and were able to ship it before the expected due date, that’s an accomplishment. Say you were named the most efficient coder in the office three years in a row at one of your jobs, that’s an accolade. These specifics are the kinds of details that prospective employers want to know! What exactly did you contribute in your previous roles? Could we use someone with your strengths and successes here? If your resume doesn’t answer these questions, it probably won’t catch anyone’s eye and it won’t represent you in your best light.
3. Education Beyond a Degree: Did you participate in a training conference or take a few MOOCs to further develop your technical skill set? If those skills seem relevant to the position you’re applying for, you should include that training in your education section. Beyond your degree (if you have one) or your certifications (if you have them), these additional glimmers into your continued education can help employers understand that you’re staying on top of your technical game both in and out of the workplace.
4. Appealing Formatting is Your Friend: Content on your resume is key but it isn’t everything. If the formatting of your resume is unappealing to the eye, you’ve got a problem. That means matching spacing on your indentations, using the same style of bullet point if you’re using them, keeping the font the same, and leaving a little white space so your resume looks clean and professional. You can add visual interest to your resume through color, decorative shapes or lines, or even a picture of yourself, but we only recommend doing this if you have an eye for design or you know someone with a great eye for design who is willing to help you format your resume. Otherwise you may go overboard and venture into the sloppy and unprofessional pile of resumes that get overlooked.
5. Revise Twice: Spelling and grammar mistakes can kill your chances of scoring a new job, especially if you’re up for a position where you need to be detail oriented (which, let’s face it, most IT positions are). Don’t just glance through your resume once, revise it at least two times before sending it out. Also if you feel like you’ve looked at your resume so many times it’s starting to burn your eyes, enlist the help of a trusted friend, colleague, or family member to read through it. They may catch a few mistakes you’ve glazed over despite the fact that you’ve reviewed it several times on your own. Don’t let something silly kill your chances at a great new job!
There you have it, these 5 easy steps will help you take your resume from stale and ineffective to polished, professional, and enlightening. Dust off your old resume and get started on making these changes today!