5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Resume January 24, 2022
There are many things I would rather do than update my resume; a big load of laundry, go grocery shopping on a crowded Saturday, go to the dentist, pass a kidney stone (ok, maybe not that one)…
I can’t say I’ve ever updated my resume during the good times. It’s generally not something I think about doing. For myself, and I venture to think that I am not alone, updating my resume is a final straw – an act of desperation. Have you ever had a really bad, horrible, terrible week at work that made you clench your fists to the air and say, “I’m done with this!”? Suddenly, pulling up the ol’ resume and making a few updates isn’t so bad – not if it means you can throw a few job applications out there and feel like you have options.
For most of us, our resumes don’t get a proper brush-up until it’s time for an active job search. Until then, they lie forgotten like last year’s Christmas decorations.
Let’s be honest though – keeping your resume up to date is actually a good idea. You never know when someone might approach you with a new job opportunity that might just be a great fit. As a recruiter, this is one of the things I love about my job! I’ve spoken to candidates who weren’t totally happy with where they were at, most of them just curious about other opportunities. A phone call or two later – they were preparing for an interview, which led to a job offer. This started because they were willing to take a chance and talk to me!
One of the first things I ask for is an updated resume. You can’t get very far without that.
Updating your resume is like keeping your kitchen clean. (Bear with me here…) I love to cook. I’m definitely more of a “free-lancer” behind the stove and I rarely follow a recipe. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t – it’s all part of the thrill for me. One thing I do, without fail, is make a catastrophic mess of my kitchen. Pots, pans, stirring spoons, all that – everywhere. It’s enough to make a person want to live on take-out for the rest of their life. My husband, on the other hand, is a tidier person than I, and cleans as he goes, meticulously wiping down each cooking tool as he finishes using it. The end result? Dinner on the table and a clean kitchen to boot. His method definitely beats mine.
Don’t let a year (or years!) of work experience get away from you before you capture it on your resume. It’s MUCH easier to make a few small updates every few months, rather than having to start from scratch when you’re stressing out about a job search.
Before I became a recruiter, I wasn’t particularly interested in the art of creating a good resume. But now, I read dozens of resumes a day as part of what I do! Here are a few “insider tips” to remember as you update your resume:
- Create your resume in Word and update it there. Job boards such as Indeed.com offer the ability to create a resume on their site, which can seem to be handy. However, as a recruiter, I inwardly cringe when someone sends me a copy of their resume downloaded from Indeed. Indeed is a wonderful tool but it’s always best to use a formal, originally-formatted version of your resume when applying for any job. Indeed formatting can be “funky” at best – recruiters and hiring managers immediately recognize it. Don’t let your unique experience and expertise get lost in dull formatting. There are many easy-to-use templates available to help you showcase your experience and expertise. HERE is one we use on a regular basis. You can easily convert the Word file to a PDF before you send it off to a potential employer.
- Give your resume a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). More than likely, the hiring manager eventually reading your resume will be on her fifth cup of coffee going cross-eyed at the stack of applications leaning Tower-of-Pisa-like over her desk. She (or he) doesn’t want to analyze dense paragraph-length job descriptions – but she does want to have a quick understanding of your background. Bullet points are your friend. Unless you have extensive experience that’s also relevant to the job for which you’re applying, keep your resume to 1-2 pages in length, with experience in the past 10 years.
- Include relevant details. Job roles should be listed in descending order – with your current or most recent employer listed first. Occasionally I get a resume with a job title and employer listed – but no description of duties. This makes me scratch my head and wonder if the candidate simply forgot to include them! In my role, I recruit for many BCBA positions. This is a very specific, highly qualified role. That being said, many BCBAs have similar job duties and responsibilities. How will you stand out as a candidate from others in your field? Think about your noteworthy accomplishments and training – and highlight those. What makes you stand out from others in your field? If you are able to include metrics, even better.
- Check for typos and inaccuracies. I once applied for a job and highlighted my “attention to detail” in the cover letter I included. I also misspelled the name of the university I was applying to! So much for that attention to detail… Needless to say, I never heard back. Your resume is your introduction and initial impression. And sometimes, first impressions are all you get. Double-check, triple-check for misspellings and errors. A second pair of eyes always helps, get a friend to double-check for you.
- You don’t need to list references. It’s important to have at least three individuals who can attest to your work ethic. Depending on the role you are applying for, these can be a mix of former supervisors or even co-workers. However, contact information for these individuals shouldn’t be listed on your resume. Employers don’t need this information until after a formal interview.
Here at TYGES, we love to recruit, but we also love to help people and be a part of their network – whether they’re actively job searching or not. One of the things I value about working here is our company motto – “We’re here to make good things happen for other people.” We want to be a resource for you, so if you ever get stuck while creating or updating your resume – we’re happy to help.
Our blog has lots of helpful tips, and you can always feel free to reach out to one of us directly. So don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, text, email, etc. if we can ever be of assistance to you!
Written by: Karissa Sechrist, Executive Recruiter
Karissa Sechrist never thought she would land in the world of recruiting, but she has absolutely no complaints! She loves that her job consists of talking to other people, hearing their stories, and helping them towards their career goals. When she’s not on the phone or scrolling through LinkedIn, Karissa can be found at home running the vacuum because she has four very furry pets (an adorable husky, a loud collie, and two sweet, but entitled cats). Her favorite person in the world is her husband, Drew, and together they love to spend time outside and try new restaurants. Karissa is a big roller coaster fan – but that is about as adventurous as she gets. Her ideal weekend is spent at home in PJs watching an embarrassing amount of Netflix or reading a murder mystery novel.
Karissa loves making new connections – so feel free to say hi anytime!
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