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How to Improve Your Resume: 9 Easy Steps

9 Ways How To Improve Your Resume

Consider your resume an advertisement of your skills and knowledge. Learning how to improve your resume can determine whether you will land an interview. Including relevant skills and experience can help greatly in this task. Highlight the most impressive and unique aspects of your professional journey. Your resume needs to catch the attention of a recruiter within seconds. Moreover, it should convince them that your experience could be helpful to them.

In the competitive job market, it is crucial to know how to improve your resume to stand out. After getting through the online system, your resume has about 15 seconds to grab the recruiter’s attention. The best resumes are the ones with highlighted accomplishments, education, skills, and awards.

Here are 9 steps on how to improve your resume

  1. Make a great first Impression
  2. Highlight your expertise
  3. Use Keywords
  4. Improve readability
  5. Showcase your accomplishments
  6. Make it visually appealing
  7. Don’t lie or embellish
  8. Don’t use negative words
  9. Proofread!

Time needed: 18 minutes

  1. Make a great first impression

    The summary of your resume should grab the reader’s attention straight away. Emphasize your successes, expertise, and best qualities at the beginning of your resume. Give the recruiter a clear idea of who they are reading about. Stating your job title and highlighting your biggest successes is a great way to stand out. Always mention your most recent experience and successes first. These are usually the most relevant for recruiters to see.Resume Template 120350 Copy

  2. Highlight your expertise

    Ensure your resume highlights the expertise relevant to the job you are applying for. Using a relevant experience section is a great way to do this. In this section, list the education, experience, and qualifications relevant to the position. Also, highlight your relevant expertise throughout the resume.
    Your expertise should reflect in the headline that states who you are. Then, it should reflect in the description of your responsibilities at past jobs.

  3. Use keywords

    Nowadays, using applicant tracking systems is a common practice among recruiters. If you fail to use the right keywords, the system might overlook your resume. When your resume gets to the recruiter, the keywords should show why you are the right fit for the job.
    Make sure you use modern terms of your profession on your resume. If you are unsure of what these are, try searching online. Job boards, company websites, LinkedIn, and social media groups can all be helpful. Don’t forget to also look into the buzzwords of your industry and the tasks you would perform on the job.

  4. Improve readability

    Most people prefer to skim before reading. Your resume should thus grab attention at first sight. To achieve this, try to improve the resume layout.
    Use short paragraphs or bullet lists with only the relevant information. Use comprehensive language that will be easy for the recruiters to understand. The resume should be easy to read.  Avoid using terms or contractions that may be unrecognizable outside of your field. Avoid repetitive information and cut unnecessary words out.
    The look of your resume can also affect its readability. Adjust your font to be well-readable. Use different attributes of the same font to differentiate between headings and subheadings. Don’t forget to add white space between your paragraphs. To find out more about the importance of white space on a resume, read Why White Space is so Important in Resume.

  5. Showcase your accomplishments

    Highlight your biggest professional achievements as quantifiable information. Mention percentages, dollars, and numbers rather than explaining your accomplishments in long sentences. Mention the percentage of sales growth, the number of clients, or the size of the team you supervised.
    Your resume should state the value you could bring to the company. Use specific examples of your achievements in bullet points to make them stand out. You may add a section dedicated to the highlights of your career, such as Awards or Press Mentions.

  6. Make it visually appealing

    Adding color or icons to your resume can help make it stand out. But, make sure that your resume remains readable and looks professional. Keep in mind the industry norms of your field – a graphic designer’s resume can look different than a lawyer’s one.
    Keep in mind that applicant tracking systems often disregard graphics. Make sure the design does not interfere with the text. Using adequate fonts and white space will make your resume appealing at first sight. To find out which fonts are the best for your resume, read Top 9 Resume Fonts to Level Up Your Resume in 2019.

  7. Don’t lie or embellish

    Over 75% of hiring managers have caught applicants lying on their resume. Most often, this is a red flag and the candidate gets eliminated from the hiring process. Applicants embellish their skills or boast about their responsibilities. Some even claim to have worked for a completely different company.
    Lying on a resume is never a good idea. Employers do extensive background checks and reference checks and can spot a lie. Describe your responsibilities in the best light, but ensure you are truthful.

  8. Don’t use negative words

    Avoid using negative words and highlighting potential red flags on a resume at all costs. Avoid stating whether you were laid off or fired. There is no need to mention extended illnesses or personal problems in a resume. Instead of explaining why you left a position, list the employment dates. If the recruiter wants to know, they may ask about the details during your interview. You should always avoid negativity on your resume.

  9. Proofread!

    Perfectionism is useful when writing your resume. Make your resume flawless by proofreading it and getting rid of any mistakes or typos. The recruiter is likely to give preference to a candidate with an error-free resume. This does not only reflect your education, but it highlights your interest in the job. Take your time to proofread your resume, and don’t rely on automatic spell-checkers.
    Improving your resume can affect the results of your job hunt. Resumes help weed out unqualified candidates and select the best fit for the job. By learning how to improve your resume, you can get more interviews and land the job of your dreams.

Find out more about resumes and cover letters in How to Make Your Resume, Cover Letter, and Linkedin Profile Work Together and Help You Get the Job of Your Dreams.

How To Improve Your Resume

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Isabel Thottam Career Writer

Isabel Thottam

Isabel Thottam is a freelance writer and human resources professional, writer for CNBC, Business Insider, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine based in Seattle.

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