Whether you love or hate the idea of writing your next resume (or even updating a current version), it’s a necessary task. One that will help you land your dream job … or just a better version of the one you already have. Maybe you’re looking for your first job and you’re just getting your feet wet in the professional world. No matter what kind of job or career you’re looking for, a resume is an important piece of paperwork to keep on hand. Not only can you outline your professional accomplishments but you should be easily updating your resume as you get further and further along your career path. Check out these 13 simple ways to take your resume even further.
13. Edit It
First things first: when was the last time you updated your resume? It’s probably been years since the thing had an upgrade or a dusting off of any kind. All too often folks rely on the version they had years ago, made a few changes, and say, “yup, good enough.” However, making sure your resume is the best possible version it can be means you can have the best shot at getting your next job… or your next client. If you don’t know what you’re doing, enlist the help of a friend. Getting a second look can make you seem even more professional, which is of course what you’re going for.
12. Turn it Into A CV
In general, a resume is only one page long. But a CV (that stands for curricula vitae) has even more info. That means you have multiple pages to put tons of information. Don’t go overboard, though: in general, three pages is a good max to go for. However, after years on the job, a single page is just not enough room to put in all of your best accomplishments. Upgrade to a CV and avoid trimming the good stuff. The only rule here: every page that’s included should be flush — no half-pages allowed.
11. Add A Photo
Why not? Get a professional photo taken and add it to the top of your resume. When it comes to most careers, this isn’t a faux pas. But if you’re worried, you can add your photo somewhere else instead. Great options include your LinkedIn profile, email signature, and business cards. It’s an easy way to seem friendlier toward others, and to let them know what you look like (and therefore who to expect) before you even walk in the office door.
10. Update The Font
You might think that a particular font won’t have much of an affect on your resume. And it might not, depending on what you already have in place. But font actually has much more of an effect on an overall look than you might think. Choosing a version that is essentially too cartoony or flourished can make for a document that is hard to read. Or one that just doesn’t look pulled together. This right font can also take up less space. Experiment with different options for a final product that looks as good as it reads.
9. Use Bullet Points
This is perhaps the best trick available since you want to add as much information as you can in a small amount of space. Use bullet points and you can tuck in titles and job descriptions. Bullet points are also pleasing to the eye, which means you’re adding style by just describing each job and skill you have had. It also eliminates the need to write in entire sentences. Really, there’s no downside here.
8. Hire Someone
Hate writing about yourself? Not even sure where to begin? Just hate writing in general? All of these excuses, and much more, are a prime opportunity to hire someone else to write your resume. Or, if you’re in college (or have a great local library), you can even get it done for free. Check around to see what’s available, and then once you find your resume writer, be sure to give them as much information as possible. This will create your best resume. In this instance, too much information is actually the best scenario, and can create an awesome, strong representation of your career skills.
7. Update Your File Name
How often have you e-mailed a resume with some vague file name? Or a date that has long passed? This is one of the easiest things to change about your resume. Just open it and do “save as.” In Google Drive, the process is even easier than that: you just click. Add your name to the file, along with a very current date, such as the month and year. This will show your potential employer that you’re staying fresh and aren’t using the same resume from years ago (even if it’s been updated since then). It will also help them find your resume easily.
6. Use A Thesaurus
Check out each job you have listed on your CV. Next, look at the responsibilities you listed below that title. Are you using different attributes and descriptions for each? Even if the answer is yes, chances are they could be upgraded for a more accurate, or more detailed explanation of what it is you did/do. This is a great, super simple process. Utilize the help of a thesaurus and find descriptive and actionable words to put on your resume.
5. Refresh Your References
If you haven’t updated who you’re using as references lately, it’s probably time to branch out. Besides, you might have met some new people in the last few months (or few years), who also have a better idea of what you can do professionally. You should, of course, talk to these people and make sure they are okay with talking you up to others. Once you get the green light, add them to your new doc — you should choose between three and five strong references, including those who know you from different jobs and/or events throughout your life.
4. Think Of The Big Picture
Details are definitely important but you should always be thinking of the big picture. When talking about your last job, post how long you were there and when. But you don’t have to say that in large, bolded text. You just need it to be in there. Be sure these small details aren’t overtaking your entire resume. You want to keep the focus on the crucial stuff.
3. Look At Other Resumes
Why not look at some other versions and get inspiration and ideas? When updating your resume, find as many types as you can. There are thousands online that you can look at and you can also check out your local library for some more examples. Ask family and friends, too. The more versions you are able to view, the more ideas you can gain of what to include in your own professional history, making your finished product as thorough as possible.
2. Nix The Objective
We get it, years ago this was a super common practice. It was also probably how you learned to write a resume in the first place. But now, it’s seen as dated and it takes up way too much space. Instead, put your objective in the cover letter – or if they don’t ask for one, just leave it out. Applying for the job means you want the job, that’s your objective, right? Bring your resume into the modern era and you won’t be sorry.
1. Adjust The Margins
If you’re running out of space, a simple way to add more room (without writing up entirely new page) is widening the margins. As long as your page can still be properly printed or displayed online, you should be all set. Add a little space at a time so you can see just how big your content can go before running off the edge of the page (which your computer program should warn you about). A small format adjustment can also ensure that your document looks professional and full, rather than like you wasted space to get to a full page. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
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