Refresh Your Resume

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We’ve all written a few resumes in our time, but it’s never bad to take a critical look at your current one and make a few improvements. Even a good resume can always be improved. Here are a few things to think about.

To objective, or not to objective?

Objectives are a controversial subject. Some old-school hiring managers like them, but lots of people these days find them to be superfluous. It’s not like they don’t know what position you’re applying for, and the place to really sell yourself is in your cover letter. But if you do choose to include an objective, make sure it’s simple—stay away from business jargon—and tells the employer what you can do for them, not what you want them to do for you.

Edit, edit, edit.

Ask yourself, “What’s really relevent to the job I’m applying for?” Only include things that really apply. Remember, hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time with your resume, so you need to grab their attention and keep it. That means getting straight to the point.

Show your accomplishments.

Don’t just list your duties in previous jobs. No one wants to read a job description. Show that you got results.

Blah: Managed web site for local band.

Better: Increased web traffic by 50%.

Don’t forget to include volunteer work or experience if it’s relevent, especially if you don’t have tons of work experience. Just because you didn’t get paid for it doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

Don’t overshare.

No one needs to know about your hobbies unless they’re relevent to the postion. Ditto your kids’ names and ages, your high school GPA or how much you bench press. It’s just too much distracting info when what you really want to be noticed for are your professional accomplishments.

Organization and grammar

If you’re a recent grad with little work experience, start with education. If not, reverse it and put education at the end. Use bullet points instead of paragraphs because they’re easier to scan, and make sure that you proofread. Use proper grammar, spell correctly and beware of little inconsistencies—periods at the end of some bullet points, but not others for example. Sure, a hiring manager might not notice, but what if they do? You don’t want to seem sloppy.

Remember, a hiring manager only spends a few seconds with your resume. We can improve the design, but it’s up to you to make it matter.