Some people claim the resume is dead, but that’s not really true.
Most hiring managers still ask job seekers to send a resume when applying, and they use these documents to gauge if an applicant is right for the job. If you’re looking to switch jobs, or are trying to jump back into the job market after a period of unemployment, or want to advance within your company, or are a freelancer who is looking for more clients, you will most likely need a resume at some point on the job hunt.
And it better be good.
When most people put a resume together, they list every job they’ve ever had (including the neighborhood babysitting gig from 10 years ago) and generally use weak words when describing their achievements. In a pile of unimpressive resumes, you want yours to stand out and grab the hiring manager’s attention.
To make this happen you can hire a professional resume writer to do an overhaul for you, either a company or an individual writer who has training and experience working on a variety of resumes. A professional resume will cost you some dough (anywhere from $75 to a few hundred, depending on your needs), but it’s a worthy investment, especially if you’re not great at tooting your own horn.
If you can’t afford this option, though, you can make some smaller scale changes quickly that will help your resume kick some serious butt.
- Only include relevant work history. If you’re applying for editing jobs, you don’t need to clutter your resume with every small part-time job waitress job you’ve ever held. Keep your experience relevant to the job you want; most HR managers spend only a few seconds looking at each resume, so show them you have solid, relevant experience.
- Make your skills shine. If your work history has huge gaps in it or if your previous jobs aren’t relevant to the job you’re seeking, your resume should draw attention to your skills and accomplishments and be less focused on your work history.
- Use strong action words. Make a list of all the roles you have held and come up with strong action words for each one. Being responsible for 10 people isn’t as strong as saying you managed 10 people. Performing a task isn’t as strong as saying you executed a task. Hiring managers love strong, buzzing action words– they show that you do things. And they make your resume stand out from all the dull, run-of-the-mill language in other resumes.
- Illustrate exactly how you improved your previous company/employer. Unless you left on terrible terms because all you did was spend your work days on Facebook, your resume should illustrate the ways in which you made your previous employer’s life easier, profits higher, productivity better, etc. Use numbers when possible, or specific outcomes/results. Even if all you did was make it easier for your boss to stay organized before huge presentations, that’s a worthy achievement that says a lot about you as an employee. Think through all your roles and be honest– what contributions did you make to your previous jobs?