17 Tips to Improve Your Resume

17 tips to improve resume

Happy New Year everyone!

We are coming to the end of a long journey at our house this year. My husband and I have been together 6 years and have been in school the entire time. We now just have one semester left! [Pause for a mini internal freakout dance]. We have no idea how our lives will change in this upcoming year. It’s exciting and pretty much terrifying. We have learned that the first step is to get ourselves out there. So here we are world- getting ourselves out there. Yelling, “We are on the hunt for a job!” [in Hydrology].

This week we took my husbands resume from just OK to Excellent in a matter of hours with the help of a family friend. These are some of the tips we got along the way.

17 Tips to Improve Your Resume

  1. Before even beginning, list your skills. Get it all out on paper relevant or not. Then circle the most relevant.
  2. Now, cross out any non-relavent skills that are strictly personal, like competitive mountain biker or excellent cook. Unless you are applying for a job, that requires you to mountain bike or working in the kitchen it is not relevant. Although those are great skills to be proud of, it is not the best use of space.
  3. Speaking of space, how long should your resume be? ONLY ONE PAGE!!! I was once told in a writing class at the university, that if a resume comes into an office that is more than one page, it is in the garbage! Employers don’t have time to read a novel about you. Keep it clean and concise. {The only exception is if you are applying for a top tier job in a corporation and have 15+ years experience that is all directly related and cannot be left out.}
  4. Think about your formatting. Stick with one font, two at the very max. Make sure the fonts are generic enough to be found on all computers like Times New Roman so that you don’t have formatting issues if you submit it digitally to your future employer.
  5. Do not go below a size 10pt font. If you are having a hard time getting it all onto one page, you can adjust the margins to no smaller than .7 inch.
  6. Remember that it is completely acceptable to have a cover letter. This is a great place to put overflow from your single page resume.
  7. If you are on the opposite side of the spectrum and have little to no experience, use phrases such as “In the process of..” or “Working towards”. This will show that you are hard working and motivated with out writing out, “I am hard working and motivated”.
  8. Everyone regardless of experience should use power phrases that show your skill set and positive attributes instead of listing them. An example of this is changing. “I am prompt and hard working.” to “I am passionate about my projects and am motivated to complete them ahead of schedule.”.
  9. You are painting a picture for your future employer of why YOU are the best ONLY person for the job. It is important to know your target. If you want a job somewhere that is all about safety and compliance, play all your safety cards early, within your first few lines. Really research the company find buzz words that they use and use those exact words in your resume. For example: The company website says “We strive for excellence and have a perfect safety record.” Use the words, excellence and safety. This, will show without saying, that you are a perfect fit. Remember to cater your resume to each employer. Resumes are not always one size fits all.
  10. Get straight to the point. Make sure that every sentence has a purpose, if it doesn’t cut it out!
  11. Always present your experience chronologically starting with current then work backwards.
  12. Use numbers and statistics! If you want to say, “I managed the sales floor. “, think about how you can make it more powerful. Try something like, “I was responsible for overseeing the training and progress of 15 sales representatives while managing the sales floor.”
  13. Pack in as much content as possible. Try not to have excessive white space. You can use Word Text Boxes for your name and address to gain extra space up top.
  14. When you press enter to cause a break between sections, you can put your cursor on the empty lines and change the font to 5pt. That will shrink the line spacing.
  15. Talk to someone in your field about their resume. Know what is important for your specific field.
  16. ZERO typos. Read. Re-read. Re-read.
  17. Last, read it backwards from the bottom to the top. This will help you see errors that your brain doesn’t usually process. Like this for example: Find the mistake

I truly hope that these tips help you in perfecting your resume and finding the perfect job. I know they have helped us! Wish us luck-


P.S. If anyone knows where that “mistake” image originated, I would love to give proper credit.

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