You might feel like your resume just needs to be good enough. But truthfully, if you’re bored of your resume, a hiring manager will be too. Whether you’re just starting your job search or have been at it for a while, a resume refresh is probably a good idea. Don’t worry, you don’t need to start from scratch. As long as you have a good foundation, these quick updates will put some much needed life back into your resume.
Change up the format
Did you know there are actually three types of resume formats? Since each format (chronological, functional and hybrid) highlights different parts of your work history, choosing the correct one can make a big difference during your job search. For example, a job seeker changing careers might benefit from a functional resume, which puts your skills (rather than experience) front and center. Do your research to put your best foot forward.
Take out the objective statement
Once a resume staple, the objective statement is now considered antiquated. Why? Hiring managers aren’t interested in what you hope to accomplish. They want to know what you can accomplish based on your proven skills and experience. If you like the look of an opening statement, try out a summary statement, which explains your accomplishments as they apply to the job opportunity. Find out how to write one here.
Keywords/skills are your ticket for getting past applicant tracking systems (also called resume screeners). When you apply through an ATS, and you have if you’re a modern day job seeker, your resume goes directly into a database, which can then be searched by hiring managers using keywords like “Mailchimp” or “Photoshop”. If your resume lists the same keywords, it will find its way in front of the hiring manager. Use the job posting to determine the best keywords to include, and customize your resume for each job.
Remove columns and other special formatting
Another secret of ATS? They hate formatting. Their job is to put your information into categories, and for some reason, many of them can’t correctly parse columns and other types of creative formatting. The same is true of unusual fonts. To be on the safe side, get rid of columns and stick with traditional fonts, like Georgia or Arial.
Give ATS a little help parsing your resume by adding dates aligned with your experience (including months!). Not only will this ensure that all of your experience gets listed correctly, but it will also clearly show the hiring manager that you have nothing to hide. Even if you have gaps in employment, include dates. It’s better to clearly show your history than to try to cover it up. By the way, if you are someone with significant gaps in employment, a functional or hybrid resume format is perfect for you.
A great resume is ATS-optimized and gives an honest view of your work history shown in the most flattering light possible. These easy changes will give your resume–outdated or not–exactly the update it needs.