Whether you’re a new graduate, seasoned worker, or a full-blown professional, nothing speaks volume to a potential employer like your resume – something you already have, but does it resound so you’re not overlooked? You may think you’re qualified, hardworking, and dedicated, but does your resume reflect that in the best possible way? Take a look again and do these five things to take your resume to the next level.
#1 Objective, Summary, or None?
If you’re a new graduate with little experience, DO write a well thought out career objective. Your resume does not contain enough information for someone to guess the kind of position you may be qualified for – this is how you get passed on.
If you have a few years of experience and you’re looking to stay in the industry, you can skip the objective and summary. However, if you’re looking to move, write a summary-objective combo.
And for a real professional? If you’re confident in the way your resume is written, feel free to drop it; otherwise, a summary could make an impactful statement.
#2 Be Specific.
Too many times have I read resumes that contain standard phrases like “hardworking individual, strong communication skills, team player”, etc. If you’re guilty, change it now. You need to be as specific as possible but still concise because most resumes submitted will contain the same boring descriptions.
#3 Show, Don’t Tell.
You can tell anyone anything, but showing always makes a bigger impression.
I know how easy it can be to fall into a rhythm of just stating generic tasks, but you need to show how you added value to your former employer. Can you describe it in a way that the employer can visualize and feel it? As you write it out, ask the following questions:
– How did I do that particular task?
– What did I contribute to?
– How and why was it relevant?
– What were the results?
#4 Watch the Jargon.
If you already have experience in an industry you’re applying to, use the jargon and key words the hiring manager will be familiar with so your experience shines. Otherwise, you might want to generalize the terminology on your resume.
For instance, when I worked in finance, we would use words like “securities and dividend income” – those words mean nothing to someone in the fashion industry so there’s no point in emphasizing them.
The other thing you can do is incorporate key words that are common in the field you want to step foot in. You should probably snoop around on LinkedIn to see what those words might be.
Don’t be afraid to delete history.
Anything that happened 5+ years ago that doesn’t benefit your current skill set should be excluded. No one wants to know that you worked at McDonalds in high school when you’re applying for a job after college. Also, no one really cares what you did 10 years ago if it was in a completely different field. Yes, the skills may be transferrable but you can bring that up in your interview if you feel strongly about it. Your resume should remain relevant and current at all times.
And one last tip – just like a cover letter, you should be willing to customize and tailor your resume as needed for every single job you apply to.