How to shine up your resume for the new year
2019 is on the horizon, and plenty of companies hire fresh talent at the beginning of the new fiscal year. A strong resume is crucial when you're competing with other qualified job seekers.
A great resume confidently conveys your abilities and experiences with concise language and quantifiable skills. It should have a simple format that's easy to read, clearly defined sections that focus on your achievements, and careful phrasing that emphasizes how your skill set matches the job requirements.
Crafting your ideal resume doesn't have to be painful. These quick tips can help you create a powerful resume that'll have you landing interviews in no time.
Rename the file
If you've gone through multiple resume edits in the past, you probably have several versions of it hanging out in your hard drive. Make sure the version you send with your job application is titled with your full name (like "JohnSmithResume") to make the employer's task as easy as possible.
Unless you're going for a job in a visually creative field, your resume should be black text in a clean font (like Calibri, Cambria, or Arial) on a white background. Limit boxes or pop-outs, and use italics, bold, and underlined words sparingly. A mix of paragraphs and bullet points will keep the reader's eye moving, and unless you're a high-level executive, your resume should always be limited to a single page.
Prioritize "above the fold"
The top third of your resume is the first thing a potential employer views when they open it--highlight impressive and relevant information about yourself in that section. You should have your name, phone number, email, and a professional statement above the fold.
Include a professional statement
Professional (or summary) statements have replaced the outdated "Objective" section. They're brief descriptions of who you are and where your experience lies, and they convince the reader that you're the only person for the job. You should include quantifiable information ("increased click-through conversions by 12% in 18 months") or bragging rights ("work featured in X publication").
In lieu of your physical home address, place your LinkedIn URL in your resume's header. This gives the hiring manager an opportunity to check out a more comprehensive list of your skills and achievements on LinkedIn (and keeps you in the running if you don't live nearby).
Your resume should tell the reader what you've done--your LinkedIn profile should go into detail about the why and the how. The platform gives you more room to go into specifics about exactly how you accomplished your work and why your achievements were so important.
Pick the right keywords
Companies often filter incoming resumes through computer programs called Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS. The ATS scans each resume to find keywords the company is searching for, but if you haven't adapted your resume to beat the program, you'll never score an interview.
Rereading the job posting is the quickest way to figure out which keywords to use. Does it mention certain computer programs, like Adobe Suite or Google Suite? Do experiences like "conducting market research" or "managing SEO" crop up? Tweaking your phrasing so that your experience matches the posting's keywords will move your resume past the ATS to a hiring manager.
If you're having trouble figuring out which parts of the job posting you should focus on, you can paste the posting's text in a free word cloud generator and see which phrases dominate.
Delete irrelevant information
Remove your college graduation date (unless you're a newer grad without much work experience). Your work experience after college is more important than the day you tossed your mortarboard in the air.
Remove your address--it can take you out of the running if a hiring manager thinks you live too far away to make the commute.
Old standbys like "References on request" or the generic "Objective" section don't relay any pertinent information and take up valuable real estate. Omit them in favor of a fleshed-out "Skills" section, or an "Awards and Accolades" list.
Soft skills like "excellent communicator" or "quick learner" don't belong on your resume. If you've listed your other skills and experiences properly, the reader will know that you can negotiate or pick up new tasks like a pro.
You don't need to list "proficiency in Microsoft Word" or other basic programs on your resume. It's assumed that you'll already know them--and if you don't, learning now is better late than never!
Abby Stassen is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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