How To Boost Your Career With an Improved Resume

Your resume is the first thing employer sees. 

First impression is crucial. 

With Artificial intelligence and machine learning, untidy and inaccurate resumes might not even reach recruiters due to automated filters. 

Thus, improving you resume can help boost your career by getting you more opportunities.

Your resume is a living document that grows with your career and can be continually updated and improved. So, if you are looking for a job change, you should work on the resume before heading on to best job search websites for job applications. 

This article will cover six ways to boost your career by brushing up your resume. 

If you don’t yet have a resume or feel that yours needs a complete revamp, consider using a resume template to help you get started. Let’s now get started with top tips on how you can boost your career with an improved resume. 

Write a Powerful Resume Summary or Objective

Start your resume off right with a compelling resume summary or objective. 

As the myth goes (and backed by some research!), most hiring managers only spend an average of about 8 seconds reading each resume they receive. 

So, it’s critical to capture their interest right away. 

A resume summary or objective should be placed right beneath your header, and it should essentially distill your entire resume down into a few powerful sentences.

Use a resume summary if you have several years of work experience already, or a resume objective if you are just getting started in your career or intend to make a career change. In either case, mention the company and position that you are applying for by name and highlight your most impressive experience, education details, skills, and qualifications.

Quantify Your Achievements

Whenever you can, use numbers to quanitfy your achievements. This makes your accomplishments feel more concrete and provides greater impact. 

The exact metrics and data to include will obviously vary based on your industry and specific role. 

For example, if you are a project manager, instead of writing that you “completed projects under budget and ahead of schedule” you might say that you “delivered 6+ projects per year at least $10K under budget and 2+ weeks ahead of schedule.”

Use Resume Action Words and Keywords

Your resume word choice is very important. Instead of using bland words and passive language, use action words to show that you are proactive, effective, and dynamic. Most resume action words are verbs, although some adjectives can also be very powerful. Here are a few examples:

  • Authorized
  • Astute
  • Chaired
  • Collaborated
  • Competent
  • Contributed
  • Dedicated
  • Delegated
  • Diligent
  • Expedited
  • Facilitated
  • Merged
  • Meticulous
  • Negotiated
  • Promoted
  • Supervised

Be careful not to go overboard with action words, as using too many can sound insincere and even sarcastic. 

One to two action words per bullet point is generally plenty. Also, steer clear of extremely dramatic or destructive-sounding words (smashed, demolished, destroyed, etc.) as they can feel theatrical and over the top. 

Some action words have been overused to the point where they no longer feel useful or meaningful. Avoid using trite words and phrases like these:

  • Added value (or value-add)
  • Circled back
  • Dialogued
  • Gave 110% (or other hyperbolic phrases)
  • Juxtaposed
  • Solutioned
  • Synergistic
  • Pivoted
  • Wheelhouse

Addtionally, be sure to employ keywords to help your resume pass automated applicant tracking system (ATS) scans. 

Read the job posting carefully to identify the keywords that the employer uses to describe exactly what they are looking for in a candidate. Then mirror that same language in your resume to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the position. The only exception to the above list of phrases to avoid would be if the employer themself used that type of language in the job description.

Tailor Your Resume

Tailoring your resume to each job posting is a simple yet extremely effective way to improve your resume. 

Although it takes time to create a custom resume for each job that you apply to, it can significantly boost your chances of scoring an interview when compared to submitting a generic resume.

To tailor your resume, mention the company by name as well as the specific position that you are applying for. Be sure to use keywords from the job description as outlined above. Also, consider which resume sections and which points within each section will be the most impactful and compelling to the hiring manager.

One way to save time during the resume tailoring process is to create a master resume.

the master resume is that contains all of your work experience, academic achievements, hard and soft skills, awards and accolades, languages, volunteer work, and so on. This document might be several pages long. 

Then, when you find a job that you want to apply for, make a copy of your master resume and pare it down to only the most relevant points. 

When you submit your resume, it should be no longer than one page if you have less than 10 years of experience, and no more than two pages if you have more experience than that.

Strategically Add Optional Resume Sections

For essentially all industries, your resume should include a header, a summary or objective, work experience, education details, and hard and soft skills. 

If you still have space left over or if your industry calls for it, you can include optional resume sections like certifications, languages, internships, volunteer experience, hobbies and interests, extracurricular activities, projects, relevant coursework, awards, and/or publications.

However, only add optional resume sections if they contain details that are relevant to the job. ‘Relevant’ is a looser term for optional resume sections, as this type of information can be either directly pertinent to the job that you are applying for or it can be tangentially related (perhaps it demonstrates excellent transferable skills or desired personal traits).

Proofread Your Resume Carefully

Finally, proofread your resume carefully before every submission. 

Especially if you’ve made changes to tailor your resume (or even if you haven’t), it’s always a good idea to read through it carefully to ensure that there are no spelling, grammar, or formatting mistakes. Also check to make sure you haven’t repeated yourself or left off any important details.