Read these top tips on how to improve your resume:
Allow the content of your resume to dictate how long it is
With all of the varying opinions about how long a resume should be, many job seekers have a tendency to forget the key factor that determines what the optimal length should. That factor is that the length of your resume should be based on how long it takes for you to effectively position yourself for the job role you are applying for. If you have had 5 jobs in the past 10 years and undergone several courses and training, then one page is obviously not going to be enough. If you have had just 2 years of professional experience, then it doesn’t make any sense to pad your resume with college jobs and accomplishments from high school just to try to make your resume longer. Any length of resume up to 3 pages will be acceptable as long as it is optimized for the position and is relevant.
Make use of the 10-second test
Many career experts say that when busy hiring managers are reviewing resumes, they take less than 10 seconds when initially reviewing them. In order for your resume to make it onto the next stage in the process, it has to stand out at first glance. Once you have written your resume, pause and take a break. Then screen your resume in just 10 seconds. Is the formatting professional and neat? Does it have an informative and catchy summary statement? Most important, is it easy to notice your key selling points at just a glance?
Demonstrate how your accomplishments made a difference
Everybody knows that your main accomplishments should be presented in your resume to provide evidence of your professional abilities. However, just lists your achievements don’t work anymore in terms of targeting your resume. You need to show the context for the accomplishment and detail how it contributed to the success of your company. For example, $1 million in sales might not be surprising for a large company. However, if you were able to accomplish that with a small business, that is a completely different story.
Address any potential red flags
It is not just a relevant skill set, experience and appropriate formatting that matters to prospective employers. Excessive grammar mistakes, constantly switching industries, changing jobs every couple of months, or a couple of years gap between jobs, can all be viewed as ‘red flags’ by some hiring managers and may prevent you from receiving interviews.
Hiring managers have been trained to read in between the lines. Don’t attempt to hide a red flag in your resume. What you should do instead with any of the issues above is to explain them in either your cover letter or your resume. If you are able to downplay these disadvantages and make them part of your overall career history and story, that’s even better.
Add keywords to your resumes
Since corporate job postings can attract hundreds of resumes, it isn’t surprising that companies search for ways to streamline and optimize their resume screening processes. This is why most companies today use ATS. If you have not optimized your resume for automated selection, then you may not get an interview.
Professional resume writers advise you to keep the job listing nearby while you are writing your resume. Use the same words that employers use to describe your skills and qualifications – these attributes and skills are frequently keywords. Look for keywords that are used often in your industry and incorporate relevant ones into your resume.