Raise your hands if you think resumes are confusing AF. Isn’t it crazy that you could be the perfect candidate for a job, yet, your resume could put you out of the running?
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I love resumes. I think it’s because I truly do believe that there is a formula and certain tweaks you can do to get you in the door. We all know that YOU are capable of doing the job, so what can you do to make sure the recruiters and employers know you are?!
And I know, it sucks you can’t just wear that adorable blazer, walk in like Olivia Pope and call it a day – your resume has to be great as well.
I put together the top “must-dos” for your resume. You can make these changes in an hour or less and I guarantee, they’ll make a huge difference in getting noticed by the recruiter. For those of you just graduating college, check out resume guide when you have no experience.
The 7 resume hacks that will get you in the door for your next job
1. MAKE YOUR RESUME EASY TO READ
This is possibly one of the most important things you can do to your resume. Make it easy to read! Imagine someone will be scrolling through your resume on their smartphone. Is it easy to follow? Easy to understand?
Maybe share your resume with a friend and see if they can easily digest the information. Are the section headers clear? Is everything lined up perfectly?
Your resume is a quick snippet of how well you could do in a job. In addition to your past experience, your ability to create a good-looking one-pager (yes, ONE page only, unless you are a CEO) about yourself could be a reflection in how carefully you’d be able to execute a job. If you can’t make your resume look good, how can this future company trust you to write an email to someone important? Or create a presentation?
2. BE CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE RESUME
Even if you are talking about your current job you should still make your entire resume as fluid and consistent as possible. Check out these three things to see if they are consistent on your resume:
A) Is everything in the same tense?
B) Are the ends of every sentence the same (periods or no periods)?
C) Are your bullets or headers similar throughout your resume?
I can’t stress the consistency aspect of your resume enough! I’ve heard through friends that some recruiters will throw out a resume IMMEDIATELY if there are periods at the end of some bullet points and none at the end of others. Isn’t that crazy?!
3. USE NUMBERS WHEN POSSIBLE
Finding a way to quantify your past successes is crucial on your resume. Even if you were not in a job like sales, that is solely focused on numbers, you likely worked on a number of projects, with a number of people, or a number of teams. You can add these numbers in to show what you achieved.
This will help whoever is looking at your resume VISUALIZE the success you’ve done in the past. You don’t have to have done anything complicated in order to use numbers. Here are some examples to get your juices flowing:
- How many team members did you work with? Showing you can work on a team is GREAT. Try saying, “Collaborated with X number of people on X number of projects…”
- Did you work cross-functionally, with any other teams or people besides your direct managers? If so, list them out! “Worked cross-functionally with X teams in order to…”
- What were your goals? Did you complete a certain number of tasks or projects? Include those too!
4. WATCH OUT FOR TYPOS
As I mentioned in tip 1, your resume is a snippet, or a one-pager, of how you’d do in your job. No future employer wants to know you are making typos. If you are a bad speller, or grammar isn’t your strong suit, that’s ok.
I’ll be honest, I’m the WORST at Grammar and spelling. I literally make mistakes constantly and almost didn’t graduate college because I couldn’t pass my Journalism’s school spelling and grammar test (I kid you not). I started using a tool called Grammerly that was a game changer with this (not an ad). It actually catches spelling and grammar mistakes in the moment, as opposed to spellcheck which normally just does the most obvious spelling.
5. CUSTOMIZE YOUR RESUME TO THE JOB
Especially if you are applying for jobs in different fields, ensure you customize your experience to the job you are applying to. Even if you are applying to all of the same types of jobs, but submitting your resume online, I would seek out focus keywords from each job description and add them to your resume. If you are applying to a big company, I
know imagine that they have machines that are able to sort through the resumes for ones that look like they have the right experience, so the keywords are important.
This will help get a physical person reading your resume, as opposed to getting thrown out by a machine.
6. USE POWER VERBS
You can make any experience sound impressive by using power verbs to start your sentences. Where do you use these verbs, you ask? To describe your experiences. For example, instead of saying that you were ‘in charge of a project’, you could say, you executed a project. Doesn’t that sound better?
Here is a list of some of my favorite power verbs to use in your resume…they will easily make your resume go from an “eh” to a “WOW”!
- …the list goes on!
7. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, FOLLOW UP
This isn’t something that you need to do in your resume but after you’ve applied for a job. Find the recruiter or someone on that team on LinkedIn and write them a message. They often will refer you directly. This tip has gotten me so many interviews, at huge companies.
What do you say in your note when you email or LinkedIn message the recruiter? Say something along the lines of this: You wanted to reach out because you’re passionate about the role and were excited to learn more. You’re a qualified candidate and you were wondering if the person you are emailed OR a colleague was free to chat about next steps!
After you’ve applied for a job, I would seriously find at least FIVE people who work at the company and send them a note via LinkedIn or email. Odds are, this person will end up referring you or passing you along to the right person. It works every time!
Want the resume template that got me FOUR job offers, 6 months out of college?!