5 Things to Take Off Your Resume Today
The job market is improving, but still highly competitive. You must work harder to demonstrate you’re worth a second look. According to Forbes, each job opening will generate 120 applicants and 80% of these will never land an interview. If you’re not getting invitations to interview, the likely culprit is your résumé. Try these five tips to focus on what you should take out of your résumé for better results:
Add a profile, delete the objective
The objective section is passé. If it doesn’t align with what the employer wants, you’ll be passed over. Your résumé should address employer needs – not yours. Replace the objective with a profile section that serves as a summary of what you offer. It’s your elevator pitch – a quick “why me.” Profiles are far more appealing than a statement of what you want from your career. Make it clear at a glance that you’re a contender to consider and not just eager to land any job.
Show what you accomplished, not what you did
Rethink how you present prior jobs. Writing “processed accounts receivables” is not gripping. “Implemented a new system to shorten the collections cycle by 10 days” is. Don’t show how you functioned, show what you achieved. Most job titles offer potential employers a general idea of your role. Customer service rep or sales associate are self-explanatory titles. No need to elaborate. Show how you performed above expectations and benefited the company to sell your value-add.
Eliminate 10-20% of your content
One essential writing tip is to edit out roughly 20% of what you wrote. This wisdom also applies to your résumé – it should be tight with no fluff. Revising your entries to show accomplishments should knock out excess verbiage. At mid-career on up, a two page resume is acceptable. For entry level to mid-level, your resume shouldn’t exceed one concisely written page. The shorter the resume, the more likely it will be fully read and that your skills will stand out.
Nothing is more of a turn off, aside from glaring typos, than eye-numbing huge blocks of text. Headers, bullets and less content greatly improve scrollability and allow the reader to see what’s impressive about you at a glance. Your profile is the overview and a quick scroll down should provide supporting information to back up your selling points. Aim for no more than five or six lines of text in any one spot. Revise, try it out on a your next application, then revise again until you optimize.
Omit the irrelevant
A résumé is not your life’s story. It is appropriate to edit your experience so long as you don’t take unethical liberties. Adding jobs you never had or skipping five years of work history is ill-advised but omitting skills the employer isn’t looking for is apt. A marketing internship or unrelated software skills won’t matter for a paralegal position. One step further is to tweak your résumé for each application. Be sure to save versions and note which you submitted to each job for continuity when interviewing.
Honing your resume is easier with a tool – Hloom.com’s free resume templates are designed by professionals to make you stand out. Among the more than 275 templates is an impressive selection of ATS-optimized templates to help your résumé surpass the rigors of applicant tracking systems. Hloom has been recommended by Lifehacker and AOL Jobs.