Take Steps to Modernize Your Resume
When it comes to resumes, there are some classic mistakes you always want to avoid. But there is also room for interpretation about what makes a “good” resume. Tips and tricks you learned from your parents, or your teachers may be outdated at this point. So how do you freshen things up? Read on for ideas that can help you set your resume up for the modern age.
1. Clean it up
If you have been “updating” your resume by slapping on additional job titles as your career advances, it's time to clean house. If you have spent ten or more years in the workforce, chances are you can go back and remove those first few entry level jobs you had when you were fresh out of college. Better yet, select which ones to keep based on how well the skills for those jobs match the skills required for the new position.
2. Replace your objective with a summary statement
Include a “summary statement” (aka: a brief blurb describing what skills and experience you can bring to the company) instead of the previously popular “objective” (aka: a brief blurb describing what you want). This is a terrific way for recruiters to get a better idea of exactly how you could fit into their office culture.
3. Remove dated language
Once upon a time, “references available upon request” was a mainstay at the conclusion of any resume. Nowadays? Employers recognize it as the space waster it is. It’s an obvious phrase (of course you will give references if requested!) that uses up valuable space that could instead be dedicated to fleshing out your work experience.
4. Refresh the format
Forbes mentions that one new consideration for resume writers is the fact that oftentimes, applicant tracking systems (ATS) are used to screen them before a human ever takes a look. Since you want both the ATS and humans to be able to read your resume with ease, it’s important to keep the formatting clean, simple, and consistent. This means putting job titles and section breaks in bold, using an easily readable font, and skipping any overly busy graphics or charts.
5. Make it pop
Your resume, when it does meet a human eye, will be skimmed extremely quickly. What is easier to read than long paragraphs and chunks of text? Lots of bullet points. These can be used when mapping out your various accomplishments, job responsibilities, and any other relevant facts that can be conveyed in short, digestible pieces. Making each bullet point succinct and action-oriented will further help move things along for the reader. Just remember to list your job experiences in reverse chronological order (aka: start with your current/latest job)—that is one piece of advice that has not gone out of style!
6. Play the numbers game
Numbers tend to make a much stronger impact than words when it comes to resumes, so keep that in mind when inputting your information. Think beyond the usual roles that numbers play and consider other ways to incorporate them into your resume: How many clients did you serve? How large was your team? How many products did you sell? How often did you represent your company?
7. Add something extra
With the space you save by streamlining your resume (and deleting “References available upon request”), think about adding another experience that (while not work related) could help identify you as a good fit for the company culture. Whether it’s volunteer work or an extra college course you took, these additions can help potential employers get a better picture of you as a whole person.
No matter which style you choose for your resume, just remember: Proofreading will never go out of style.