A strong resume is essential when you are trying to get an interview and a job offer. Your cover letter will also be extremely important, but your resume needs to be in top shape in order to secure an interview, especially if you are applying for a job without any contacts at the company. Even if you do know someone who might be able to help you out, you should still have a professional and targeted resume when applying for a job.
The best resumes are usually carefully edited, targeted to the specific job, and also highlight your qualifications. While it would be great if you could have more experience in your job field, more volunteer work, or more specific skills, if you lack those things, there are still easy ways to improve your resume without spending a lot of time. Here are four ideas to consider.
1. Target the specific job
It can be tempting to send out the same resume to multiple companies, especially if you are applying for many different jobs. However, doing so can be a big mistake, especially if the jobs you are applying for are wildly different. Even if they are similar, it still helps to target your resume for each particular position. According to ResumeEdge, it’s important to show exactly why you can do the job; be sure to show what you have done in the past that will meet the position’s requirements. This will help busy hiring managers who are looking at many different resumes. If you show exactly why and how you are qualified for the position, you will be ahead of some other candidates.
It’s important to note that although tailoring each resume to the specific job takes time, it won’t take that much time if you keep a master resume that you can pull information from.
2. Remove unnecessary information
Hiring managers are busy people, and when you apply for a job, especially outside of your company, you will probably be competing with a lot of other qualified people. If your resume has a lot of unnecessary information, that information may potentially distract from your real qualifications, especially when the hiring manager could be reading hundreds of resumes. Some tips for eliminating unnecessary information include removing photographs or graphics, eliminating any salary requirements, removing irrelevant information (such as an unrelated job from fifteen years ago), and your reference list, which should be given when requested.
You can quickly scan your resume for this extra information; deleting it will help your true skills and qualifications stand out.
3. Mind the details
This should be obvious, but be sure to proofread your resume for grammatical errors. If you are a poor speller, ask someone else to read it for you, or if you must, pay someone to edit it; the money will be worth it. Formatting and word choice are also very important when creating the best possible resume. Fancy fonts might look pretty, but if the hiring manager can’t read your resume, you won’t get an interview. Times New Roman 12 is the most common font to use, but as long as you choose one that is legible and consistent, there are many choices to choose from. According to the UndercoverRecruiter, the most important information should come first.
Word choice is also important. According to GetInterviews.com, you should avoid listing soft skills, be direct and avoid using a passive voice, and use words that will present you in a strong way.
4. Evaluate your information
In addition to removing irrelevant information, you should also determine if you are using appropriate details. For example, consider your email address. If you are using an email address that looks like it belongs to a college kid (think: collegeathlete@ or hotguy2@) then you should probably create a more professional email address. Do you still have awards on your resume that you received twenty years ago? If so, the space could probably be used more appropriately.
According to Strategic Contract Resources, it’s important to have an appropriate objective. You should avoid any physical descriptions (unless perhaps the job demands it — like a modeling gig), as well as any other inappropriate personal information (such as your sexuality). SCR also stresses the importance of an appropriate email address.
Your resume is one of the most important tools you have for securing an interview, and it’s easy to fix your resume if you can take a few minutes to do so. Once you have the proper spelling, appropriate experience and details, and a legible font, you can work on making your resume creative and interesting to read. Most importantly, make sure it is relevant.