Your resume is usually the first thing that a potential employer will look at to gauge your suitability for a job. In a nutshell, your resume is a snapshot of your professional life so far: your academic achievements, previous jobs, and even the training sessions you attended.
To put your best foot forward, you need to ensure that your resume casts you in a positive light and showcases all that you’re capable of in a clear and concise way.
While different employers will have their own lists of non-negotiables, a few things usually constitute a skippable resume. These various factors could prevent you from being added to the short list of candidates who will proceed to the next step of the hiring process and be invited to interview.
With this in mind, here are a few things you may want to change in your resume to boost your chances of getting hired for your dream job.
Customize Your Resume to Be More Targeted toward Your Industry and Job Preferences
Resumes that are tailored for specific industries and jobs have a higher chance of getting past the initial vetting stage.
For example, if you plan to find work as a graphic designer, you need to showcase your skills at the outset through your resume. This means going beyond the standard resume and making sure that the colors, fonts, and other design elements down to the smallest technicalities tell the story of who you are. Similarly, if you want to work in communications, your resume should tell a cohesive story about your career journey through well-crafted sentences.
Although flawless grammar is non-negotiable for resumes regardless of industry, the importance of error-free content cannot be understated if your line of work involves communication.
Aside from tailoring your resume for your chosen industry, you also need to showcase the qualifications that best fit the job arrangement you want to have.
For instance, if the job you’re applying for requires certain technical skills, including information about where you received training and certification will make you a standout job applicant.
On the other hand, if you’re applying for work from home jobs, you can mention prior WFH experience to show that you’re no stranger to remote work. You can also reword job descriptions and mention having an efficient home office setup that helps you easily complete work-related tasks at home.
Additionally, it might help to briefly mention soft skills that are valuable for remote jobs, such as self-discipline, good communication skills, and deadline-orientedness. Essentially, it’s never a bad idea to revolve your resume changes around the kinds of jobs you intend to pursue.
Use a Cleaner Layout
Keeping your resume layout organized and easy to read is a great way to sustain your potential employer’s attention. Most of the time, too-complicated resumes require employers to scour your entire resume for the information they need.
To keep your resume straightforward, make sure to focus on the key elements: a summary of your career so far, your work experience, training and certifications, educational background, relevant skills, and notable awards and honors.
You can also include your references and personal details, such as your address and contact number, but it would be wise to omit them if you’re putting your resume online. Generally, it’s safe to include such information only if the employer asks for it, especially if you’re applying directly to the company.
Trim Down Details on Work and Education
In addition to having a cleaner layout, you also need to keep your resume succinct enough by trimming down the details of your work and educational background.
If your resume still has details such as where you went to elementary school and your brief stint as captain of your high school swim team, it’s best to let go of the memories and focus on the now. Ideally, your educational background should not take up much space and cover only your tertiary education and onwards.
To make the section on work experience a lot easier to go through, it’s best to remove the jobs you held years ago that may no longer be relevant.
Apart from cluttering your resume, keeping these details won’t make much sense since employers usually focus more on your recent experience. Still, it’s up to you to decide which work experiences get the boot.
So if you held a job with a major enterprise more than a decade ago, you’re free to briefly touch on it, especially if you made significant contributions during your time in that role.
Write for Human Readers
Typically, human resource networks have their own systems for identifying and tracking applicants that suit a specific role. If you’re going to apply online, it would help to include keywords that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
These keywords may include technical skills, certifications, training, and any software you might be proficient in using (especially if you work in tech or IT).
That said, it’s also important to design your resume with human readers in mind. Instead of piling multiple keywords together in large blocks of text, be natural in your storytelling and use your own words. For instance, you can put 1-2 sentence summaries of your time with a certain company, detailing things such as your core functions, what you were able to achieve, and the skills or actions you used to achieve those results.
If you plan to overhaul your resume to make it sound more human, you can start with a quick summary or branding statement that should be placed around the top of the page.
Your summary should serve as a short but sweet overview of who you are as a professional, but most importantly, it should give the reader an idea of the value you will bring to the team.
Some Things to Know Before Submitting Your Resume
If you want to explore resume designs, then please use our Free Resume builder for the same. Now that you know the elements of your resume that might need some updating, you must keep a few pointers in mind to increase the chances of your application moving forward.
First, you need to analyze job postings thoroughly to determine your suitability for the role and update your resume accordingly.
Second, if you need a bit of help designing the revamped version of your resume, you can check out online sources for resume templates that employ good design principles to make your application stand out.
And lastly, don’t forget to apply through trusted job portals to avoid compromising your privacy and personal information. If you’re applying to the company directly, you must ensure that the people you interact with are legitimately employed.
Getting past the first stage of applicant vetting is not always easy, but with the suggestions mentioned above, you can elevate the look of your resume and get closer to the next stage of your application journey.