It’s that time of year when we reflect on whether or not we accomplished what we set out to do, if there is anything we want to do differently, and what areas we want to focus on in the New Year. If you are a job seeker or are planning on becoming one this year then make a resolution to make your resume the best it can be. Here are a few key areas to focus on in order to create a resume that will leverage your skills, market your strengths, and highlight your achievements.
Your resume style is essential to the success of your resume. If you’ve been using the same style for awhile take a look at some of the over 100 resume samples right here on WorkAlpha and you will be surprised at the variety. The old school resume (objective statement, lots of bullets, etc.) is out and has been replaced with hard-hitting titles, career summaries, and entire sections focused on your skills.
Try a little color on your resume for an attention grabber. Keep the colors professional, think gray, blue, or red and use it sparingly for the most impact. Use color in your section breaks, as a border, or in a text box. If you are a little bit bolder you could even put your name in color. If you’re not up to using color try using bold, italics, and underlining to bring attention to specific areas of your resume.
Times New Roman is an overused font; if you are using it on your resume consider a different one. Choose one that maintains readability and professionalism. This is a simple change that can make a subtle but constructive difference.
So many people resolve to trim down their waistline as a resolution, why not try trimming down your resume? You have limited time to grab the attention of your reader so maximize your resume’s content by presenting only the most relevant information. If your resume goes back 20 years you definitely want to trim it back to your most recent experience. Don’t open yourself up to age discrimination by revealing too much on your resume.
Along the same lines, there are some things that just shouldn’t be included on your resume. This includes: your picture, personal information, religion, marital status, whether or not you have children, and hobbies. If it doesn’t directly relate to the position or industry then it shouldn’t be included.
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make on their resume is to list their job duties without putting them into context. You don’t want to simply tell a hiring manager what you did; instead you want to highlight any challenges you faced, what you did to overcome those challenges, and what the result was. This shows the potential value you would bring to the position. If your resume consists of multiple bullet points that focus on a duty you performed and little to nothing else, then your resume resolution should center on revising the content of your resume.
Tired and overused wording on your resume should be given the heave ho. Resolve to revitalize your resume by trying out some new keywords and power words. Does your resume contain any of the following: responsible, managed, organized, skilled, experienced, reliable, or dedicated? If you answered yes, then you need to make the wording in your resume a priority. Try some of these instead: enterprising, championed, streamlined, catalyst, executed, or strategized.
Give yourself an advantage this new year by invigorating your resume with some of these changes. Making this effort can improve the results of your job search in the New Year.
by Megan Koehler