Your resume is the best opportunity to make a great first impression. Having a professional and eye-catching curriculum vitae is your chance to convince a prospective employer that you’re the perfect person for the job. A bad CV will turn off an employer and close the door on your chances of landing your dream job, so getting it right is crucial to any future success in the world of work. But how to improve a resume? Resumes highlight pertinent information to a potential employer and should succinctly summarize your education, experience, and other qualifications that are relevant to the position you are seeking. Applicants often approach resume writing somewhat subjectively, but there are many areas of a resume where uniformity is preferred. By addressing these pertinent parts, you could make your resume stand out and look more professional. Here are some considerations for perfecting your resume and landing your dream job.
1. Do your research
Researching a job role is one of the easiest and most important parts of applying for jobs, but it is often overlooked by unsuccessful candidates. Before writing your resume, read the job description. Invariably, there will be a list of bullet points describing the attributes and experience the employer is after. Copy these down and tailor your resume to reflect how you embody each one.
Don’t lie about yourself or your experience to make it fit the description, as it will not help your cause later down the line. Find truthful elements from your work or academic history which prove you’re the person they’re looking for.
2. Tailor Your Resume
This means to highlight skills and experience that are relevant to a particular job. Because your resume may be different for each position you are interested in, be sure to adjust pertinent keywords that relate to each position. Remember that resumes are often read by a computer and may be overlooked without relevant keywords.
3. Avoid Superlatives
Self-flattery is generally frowned upon by hiring managers. Terms like “highly skilled” or “very motivated” are not necessary. It is usually better to let your work history and accomplishments speak for themselves.
4. Draw attention to your best attributes
The entire point of a resume is to bring attention to your strengths. The best and most concise way to do this is to insert a few bullet points at the top of the document outlining your strengths relative to the role you’re applying for. The bullet points at the top of the page will naturally be the first thing an employer reads and will often influence their decision on whether or not to read on.
5. Pick the right layout for you
The layout of a resume is more than just an aesthetic issue- it can actually help to highlight your biggest competencies while minimising any weaknesses. Employers sometimes have to read hundreds of resumes, so will naturally scan the top half of a page before deciding whether to read the rest. Dedicate the prime real estate of your resume to your most relevant and impressive information to ensure it gets read.
If you’re lacking in previous real work experience, put your academic achievements first. Likewise, give priority to your work history if your educational background is less accomplished or relevant.
6. How to improve resume: Clarity is key
The average job application receives over 300 applications and employers take an average of 10 seconds to read each resume before deciding its fate. With such a short amount of time to stand out from the crowd, making your resume clear and easy to read is crucial to its success in securing an interview.
The text size, font, spacing, etc. are important in getting your resume looked at by potential employers. Choose a conservative font such as Arial or New Times Roman. Bullet points and regular paragraph breaks will ensure your strongest and most salient selling points are seen by the employer. Your text size should not be smaller than 11 for easy reading. Also important is making the appearance of your resume graphically-pleasing and making white space plentiful for ease of scanning. In addition, one-pagers are generally preferred. More than one page may be necessary for advanced degrees or extensive experience.
How to improve your resume? Spelling and grammar errors are the number one reason that employers discard resumes. A baffling number of people fail to proofread their document before sending it off and are immediately ruled out of the running for a job they might have otherwise been perfect for. If you can’t catch a basic error in your own curriculum vitae, why would any employer trust you to not make errors in the role they’re paying you to do? Read through the document several times, then ask a friend or family member to do the same. Put the resume down and walk away from it for a few hours, then come back and read it again. Fresh eyes can work wonders.
Your resume is your chance to make a great first impression and, luckily, you can work on it until you get it right. Take the time to make your resume stand out from the masses by tailoring it to the job you’re applying for, making it clear and easy to read, and making it error free. A resume is seen as an extension of you, so to creating one which is anything less than perfect would do yourself a disservice.