How to improve your resume

2015-004-5903

A resume is your first chance to grab a recruiter’s attention, and you want it to be for the right reasons. When is the last time you revised your resume? Here are a few tips to help with updating your resume and making it stand out.

1. Remove the objective from your resume.

For years we were told to include an objective. Every resume had to have an objective, but that is a thing of the past for most companies. Remove the template language, “I am a hard-working professional seeking a sales position in the pharmaceutical industry,” because that should be obvious to an employer. Why else would you be applying for the job?

Instead of stating why you want the job, create a personal or professional summary to market yourself to a potential employer. Describe your experience, talents, and what value you bring to a future employer.

2. Write bullet points that help you stand out.

Think about how you performed a task, why the task was important, and the impact it had on the organization. When possible you want to include numbers or details that will give the recruiter a frame of reference. Here is a sample.

Basic bullet point:

  • Responsible for invoice payments, accounts receivable and financial analysis

Better bullet point:

  • Reduced the average days-outstanding for invoice payments from 60 days to 42 days
  • Develop revenue projections and financial analysis for the opening of five new U.S. offices

3. Make your sections stand out.

A recruiter is going to spend less than 30 seconds reviewing your resume. The average time spent scanning a resume is just six seconds. The main items a recruiter is looking for are name, what university you graduated from, and the last job you held. Make it easy for that person to find each of these sections on your resume by using lines to separate headings (e.g., education, experience, activities). You can also use bold, italics or all caps to help highlight headings.

4. Stick to one page.

We should all strive to keep our resumes at just one page. If a recruiter is spending just six seconds scanning a resume, do we really expect them to read what is on page two? A general rule is that you can add a page for every 10 years of work experience. I would still suggest that you may want to have a one page resume available even if you have 10 plus years of work experience.

5. Update your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is becoming more and more important for job seekers and employers. If a potential employer liked your resume, they are going to look for you on LinkedIn. Consider LinkedIn your online resume. You can take much of what is on your paper resume and put it directly into your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you have a business appropriate photo and begin connecting with people in your industry.

Brian Harrington, director of the Center for Professional Excellence
Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration

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