If you are struggling to find a job, there may be something wrong with your resume. Try one or all of the ways listed below to improve a resume and see if they increase your odds of getting an interview.
Step one: add bullets describing your achievements with the stats to back them up.
The old saying ‘the proof is in the pudding’, I’d change to ‘the proof is in the numbers’. Vague statements of achievements without the proof that provides the evidence that this really was an achievement is one of the biggest mistakes resume writers make.
Bad resume wording: I have strong leadership skills.
Best resume wording: I led a team of 21 people through a merger process that required a downsizing of five positions and a restructuring of the remaining 16 roles and an overhaul of our customer service process. The resulting revamping of the processes and procedures decreased our team’s response time to customer requests from 48 hours to 12 hours and reduced customer complaints to zero.
In a functional resume, the bullets on achievements can be added to the bottom of a section that lists your skills. This will improve a resume by proving you can do what you state you can.
Step two: ask someone to proofread it.
Even if you have a master’s degree in English, get some other eyes on your resume. Spell check catches a lot of mistakes but it doesn’t catch words that are spelled correctly but are the wrong word. If you can, choose a proof-reader that understands your industry and one that doesn’t. Ask the proof-reader that doesn’t understand your industry if they understand what you are describing as your skills and abilities. Why? Because often it is a junior HR person who is screening your resume and they may have zero knowledge of your industry.
Step 3: Keep it to two pages.
The only reason a resume should be more than two pages is if you are a highly seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience; then a three page resume should suffice. Conciseness is a skill that most employers want and so if you provide information that is completely irrelevant to what they have asked for in the job description or job posting then they will assume you do not have that ability.
Step 4: Use the real estate wisely.
The top 1/3 of the first page of your resume is the most important real estate. That section should be reserved to highlight what makes you unique – your competitive advantage – over the 500 candidates you may be competing with. If you know the employer is looking for a specific skill or level of experience, hook them to read the rest of your resume by providing some strong achievement statements in the top third. You can create a “Top Achievements” section that would be sure to wow your potential employer and improve a resume.
Step 5: Use a modern layout
White space, trendy colors (pick colors that coordinate well and are on trend) and a modern resume layout that communicates quickly that you have the skills and the experience to hit the ground running when you start the job and that you are hip and progressive.
Did this list ring a bell with you? Can you see why you remain unemployed and what you need to do to improve a resume? Please share your “ah ha!” moment in the comment section so other readers can learn from your discovery. Do you need help trying to figure out which of these apply to your resume or would you like to discuss what you’ve found out from reviewing this list? You can purchase a 30 minute consulting/coaching session from me and email me your resume and I can provide an overview of what I think you need to work on during the call.