Jobs are returning to in-person and are becoming more available as the pandemic takes a turn for the better. With this, many people start to head out and apply to the workforce. When looking at your job resume, you might not have updated or perhaps glanced at for a while. You could have even based it on a standard resume template you used months ago. To help improve your resume and make it stand out against the crowd, this article gives you some easy tips for how to improve your resume.
Start Off Strong
The first thing a recruiter will see on your resume is your resume objective or summary. Since it acts as a first impression, it’s one of the first things you want to focus on to improve your resume.
For a resume summary, you want to describe your most vital character traits, job experiences, and skills within a few words. To help keep it short, try and compact your words, such as using “detail-orientated” instead of “pay close attention to detail.”
After writing your skills and traits, you should add how you can help the recruiter reach their goals by hiring you. The main point is to keep the summary within a few easy-to-read sentences. Any longer than that, the recruiter might find it too long and cast it aside.
A resume objective follows along with the same idea of keeping it short without any unnecessary fluff. To improve your resume objective, you must also include a sentence or so about your career goals. When applying to a job that can help advance your career goals, you want to use an objective instead of a summary since it can help you stand out more for that particular job.
Improve Your Resume Header
An essential aspect of any resume is your header, as it can act as a business card. Since contact information changes likely over time, it’s crucial to keep this part constantly updated. After ensuring that it’s up to date, make sure you clearly labeled it in an easy-to-read format. This format can include adding labels to the information you provide, such as labeling your phone number and professional email.
If you have any social media accounts that demonstrate your skills or a LinkedIn profile, be sure to add them to your header as well. It has the benefit of adding proof to skills you have without needing to take up much space elsewhere on your resume.
Add Keywords to Your Resume
Many often overlook this part when writing a resume since keywords are often associated with marketing and SEO. Adding keywords to your resume is extremely important, especially in cases where your resume is submitted online.
With resumes submitted online, many companies often filter it through the ATS or applicant tracking system. This system filters resumes based on their content and only passes over job resumes to the company if they match specific keywords. This system makes their job easier for them. Because of the ATS companies’ use, it’s essential to update your keywords to improve your resume constantly.
When trying to find keywords, you can look at the job ad itself. Often, it will describe critical skills and requirements a recruiter will consider for the job, and you can use those as keywords to add to your resume.
Use Action Words Throughout Your Resume
Another vital resume tip is to use action words. Examples include using the word “consulted” rather than “talked” in the context of describing an experience in customer service over the phone. The action word, in this case, holds a firmer grounding that can help you sound more confident and knowledgeable in what you’re describing. It has the power to boost your resume and make it seem less bland to the recruiter.
Add Additional Sections to Improve Your Resume
If you’re looking at your job resume and struggling to figure out what else you can add, here are some examples to think of:
- Achievements or awards
- Hobbies and interests
Just because it isn’t a paid job doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold a valuable way to demonstrate your skills and mindset to recruiters. It can also be a way to show recruiters that you’re a team player, in some cases, which is an important trait for most jobs.
Another section to add to your resume to help improve is to include whether you know how to speak or write in a foreign language. Roughly 9 out of 10 companies rely on employees who know more than one language and often search for potential workers with that skill. If you know more than one language and mention it on your job resume, you’re more likely to be brought into an interview.
Know When You’ve Added too Much
It can be easy to write a lot on your resume, explaining each of your job experiences in perfect detail. However, writing down too much can make the resume redundant and turn away the recruiter from hiring you. For this, there is another tip on how to improve your resume: Keep it no longer than one page.
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t include anything on your resume that dates back longer than 10-15 years ago. Unless the job is specific or requires it, you don’t need to bring up the first job you had over 20 years ago.
Proofread and Format the Final Version
After you finish writing and improving your resume, you want to give it a final glance over. It would be terrible if you submitted your resume, only for the recruiter to notice a fatal spelling error on it nearby the word “detail-orientated.”
When proofreading, you can use tools such as Grammarly to help you check your word choice and spelling on your resume. It also helps to read the resume out loud to catch anything that sounds funny or any errors that you might have missed earlier.
Once you finish proofreading the resume, take one final look at the format. Is the resume adequately formatted? Generally, you want your resume to:
- Have 1” margins on all sides
- Have the text as either Arial or Georgia font and set to 12 pt
- Use bullet points instead of sentences when listing
- Be neatly organized and easy to read
After these final checks for improving your resume, it’s ready to be used and sent back out there to recruiters.