Studies show that the average recruiter scans a resume for a mere six seconds before deciding if the applicant is a good fit. So when you have less than 10 seconds to make an impression, every little thing helps you stand out. Apply these tried-and-true changes to help your resume get you where you want to go.
1. Trim the fat
Pretend you’ll get 50 cents for every word you can cut out of your resume. See how much you can cut out without losing efficacy. This will ensure everything on your resume is worth being read.
2. Create a custom LinkedIn URL
You should certainly have your LinkedIn profile on your resume, but don’t put that long thread of numbers and characters on there. Instead, change the URL to something easily consumable. Find directions here.
3. Export the correct file
Sending over a foreign file results in weird formatting on a recruiters computer. Save your resume as a PDF before submitting it to make sure everything looks the way it should.
Go through each point on your resume to see how many numbers and percentages you can add. Numbers can represent how many people you managed and by what percentage you exceeded your goals.
5. Minimize job descriptions
Instead of describing what you did in a position, show potential employers what you accomplished. Rework each bullet point to simply state the results of your work and the action you did create that result. For example, “Increased sales by 21 percent by implementing a training program.” (Note: It’s okay if your action is vague. This means the hiring officer needs to call you to find out more.)
6. Ditch the objective — use a summary
Potential employers aren’t interested in your aspirations as much as how you can help them reach their goals. Instead of including an objective, write a brief statement of your major achievements. Put this statement above the fold so a recruiter can quickly read your most shining moments.
7. Adopt orphan words
If there are any words on a line by themselves, rephrase the previous line to make them fit. This will free up more space to talk about your accomplishments and make the whole document look cleaner.
8. Change the font
Stick with your Times New Romans and Helveticas. You want this document to look professional, but above all, be readable.
9. Remove references
Even if your resume just says: “references available on request,” delete it. Nowadays, hiring managers often use social media to find references, and if they want references from you, they’ll ask. Use the extra space to show your accomplishments.
10. Spell check
Just do it.
11. Move your education to the bottom
Your experience is more attractive than your education, so make sure recruiters see what’s really important.
12. Minimize the margins
If you need some more space, make those margins a little smaller.
13. Double-check formatting
Make sure you commit to a style. If you’re going to use bullet points to describe one experience, you better use them to describe every experience.
14. Mind the gap
If you spent some time out of work, change the start and end dates to reflect only the years you were in a position instead of the months.
15. Empower your verbs
Doesn’t “cultivated” sound better than “managed”? Or “accelerated” sound better than “built”? Check out Harvard’s list of action verbs to amp up your resume.
16. Change meaningless adjectives
Telling a hiring manager you’re “detail-oriented” will not set you apart from the group. What characteristics make you distinct?
17. Use blank space
The more skimmable your resume is, the more of it a hiring manager will consume. Adding space and line breaks will help your resume be easily consumed.
18. Read it out loud
This will help you identify any phrases that don’t flow.
19. Remove the photo
If they want to see what you look like, they’ll find you on the web.
20. Remove your address
Unless you’re applying for a job near to where you live, an address could actually be detrimental. Recruiters may dismiss your application if you don’t live near the office.
21. Make your contact info pop
Don’t make a hiring manager search for your email or phone number. Help them get in contact with you by making it easily locatable.
22. Adjust your resume for each application
Each job you apply for is unique, so highlight different skills and accomplishments that are pertinent to each position you’re applying for.
To carry your resume to networking events or interviews, you need a bag that looks slick too. (That first impression really does count.) Check out the NOMATIC messenger and laptop bags to help you look your best.