Creating a resume that sells you to potential employers can be a challenge. Today's business world is competitive, and there are almost always plenty of other equally or more qualified applicants. Taking steps to improve your resume is worth the short-term effort. In the long run, the results are worth spending a few hours in front of your computer. Here are 8 tips to help you take your resume to the next level.
1. Keep It Succinct
One of the best ways to improve your resume is to get rid of the unnecessary fluff. Hiring managers don't have time to read multi-page resumes. Make sure your resume takes up just one page, even if you have to reduce the font size.
2. Change It as Needed
When you're applying for employment, you may not always be seeking the exact same positions. Cater your resume to specific positions and organizations, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Your landscaping experience probably isn't going to grab the attention of someone hiring for a computer coding position. Improve your resume according to the specific job skills the potential employer is seeking.
3. Use Multiple Templates
There's nothing wrong with using a template to improve your resume. However, simply copying and pasting a template and then substituting your own information isn't the best approach. Instead, take bits and pieces from multiple templates so you can create a resume that's uniquely yours.
4. Proofread It Again
Before you even think about sending or delivering a resume, you must be absolutely certain that it's free of errors. One minor spelling mistake is all it takes to send your resume to the bottom of the stack. Proofread it after it's finished, then come back and do it again with fresh eyes an hour or two later.
5. Include a Cover Letter
A well-written letter is the icing on the cake. Your resume highlights your skills and experience in a straightforward, bare-bones way. The letter lets you expand upon those facts. It lets you highlight your unique personality, which can provide excellent leverage over other applicants who only send a resume.
6. Make It Attractive
A professional font and consistent formatting go a long way. If your resume doesn't catch the eye, it doesn't matter how amazing the content is. If you lack the computer skills to improve your resume, ask a friend, family member or professional to give it an update.
7. Keep the Dates in Order
Your resume should clearly show your experiences from the beginning until now. Hiring managers don't want to be jumping around the paper trying to connect the dots. Keep it clear and concise so the person reading it can clearly understand your employment history in order.
8. Stick to the Facts
Improve your resume by eliminating any personal opinions or phrases that don't have a specific focus or goal. Each and every sentence should state a professional fact about your experience, and nothing more. Cut unnecessary verbiage, and save the salesmanship for the cover letter.
There are plenty of examples of CVs online. Do your due diligence, and learn to recognize what a solid resume looks like, as well as a bad one. Once you've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, you'll be able to improve your resume more effectively.
Photo courtesy of Eastern Washington University at Flickr.com