10 Steps to Improve Your Resume

Are you ready for a new job opportunity? It’s time to put together a resume! A well-written resume provides future employers with an overview of your professional experience and helps them determine if you are the right fit for the job. It can also set you apart from other potential candidates and help you reach your career goals!

Follow this in-depth guide to learn how to write a compelling resume and get the job you want!

1. Write your summary statement

A summary statement is a brief sentence that highlights your past job experience. It should include your job title or position, professional skills, and any specific abilities you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

For example, a summary statement for an experienced accountant could be: "Certified public accountant with more than 15 years of experience, specializes in taxes and thrives under pressure."

If you have little to no professional experience, your summary statement should emphasize your knowledge and skills. Here’s another example for a new graphic designer: “Graphic design graduate with a high command of Adobe Suite, a great sense of responsibility and excellent multitasking abilities.”

2. Include your contact information

Your contact information is one of the most important sections of your resume. Most employers recommend including your full name, current phone number and email address.

Always make sure that there are no errors within this section and that your information is up-to-date. You don’t want to miss out on any potential job opportunities!

3. Tailor your resume to fit the job description

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Make your resume stand out! Since no two jobs are alike, you should personalize your resume to fit each job you are applying for. This doesn’t mean to lie or make up any information. Just tailor your work experience and skills to fit what your potential employer is looking for.

For example, if your resume is going to a non-profit organization, emphasize your experience in social or community work. If you’re applying for a teaching position, mention your experience in leadership and public speaking.

4. Format in chronological order

A common mistake while drafting a resume is not formatting your experience in chronological order. When a recruiter sees a resume with unorganized dates, they can take it as a sign of job instability or a simple lack of interest. Avoid this situation and sort your work experience from the most recent to the oldest.

5. Highlight your education & certifications

In the United States, if you have a degree from a trade school, community college or university, you don’t need to include your elementary, middle school or high school education. Just list your highest level of education, certificates and/or training you have relevant to the job in chronological order.

6. Impress with personality traits relevant to the job

Take some time to review the job description and identify which of your personality traits best matches the position. For instance, if you’re applying for a customer service representative position at a call center, focus on your leadership and organizational skills. Consider all your positive and relevant personality traits to impress your future employer!

7. Optimize your resume for recruiter software

Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter resumes before an actual recruiter reads it. Resumes from applicants are automatically scanned using the software and organized based on specific keyword searches. Here are a few simple ways to help optimize your resume for the ATS scanner and boost your chances for an interview:

  • Send your resume as a .doc file instead of a PDF.
  • Avoid spelling errors.
  • Remove any tables, columns or images from the document.
  • Use keywords relevant to the job description.

Keep in mind: If you’re not sure about which keywords to include, review the job description and search for similar job profiles using recruiting websites, such as LinkedIn. This will help you define which keywords are most commonly used in your industry and help your resume stand out!

8. Show off your work

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Do you have a portfolio? If you work in the creative field, a portfolio is a great way to present any specific projects or accomplishments that you’ve worked on in the past. Many websites offer unique and creative spaces for individuals, such as artists and designers, to create and share digital portfolios. Behance is a great digital portfolio tool for photographers or graphic designers to show off their work in a sleek manner.

9. Make your resume attractive

The easiest thing you can do to improve your resume is to make sure that it has a clean and professional presentation. Focus on using simple and legible fonts such as Arial or Calibri, readable line spacing, and bullet points. Microsoft Word is a recommended tool to create a good resume as it offers many design templates to help you get started!

You can also use online design tools such as Canva to create a more attractive resume, however keep in mind that it is not ATS friendly. Canva is best used for jobs where the resume will be read first by an actual person and not the ATS software.

10. Check the spelling

Did you run a spell check? Make sure that your resume doesn’t have any misspelled words or grammatical errors. If you want to look up the spelling of any word or find similar words, use an online dictionary and/or thesaurus, like Merrium-Webster.

With these 10 simple steps, you’ll be able to write a resume that stands out to employers and get one step closer to getting the job you want. If you’re seeking to advance your career, consider the opportunities available to you through a technical degree!