Six Tips for Improving Your Resume

So many people ask if you really need a professional resume. The answer is quite clear. You really do need a professional resume, but what many experts do not tell you is that resumes account for just a small part of the hiring decision. They are the precursor of the recruiting process and need to be a crisp marketing tool.

We see dozens of resumes weekly from professionals, and the large majority of these remain unopened. So we understand, it takes a lot to impress a demanding hiring manager. The goal is to create a targeted document that contains no tricks.

Image by VIN JD from Pixabay

Here is what makes a professional resume stand out from the rest.

Portray an Engaging Job Success Story

A resume tells a story about the candidate’s career path. There are not any information or experience gaps. In only a few seconds, employers are able to see an exact pattern of the candidate’s professional development. The chronological list of work history should be sequenced by date, with the most recent position at the top to show a very clear progression toward more executive roles and responsibilities.

Make Sure it’s Easy to Read

The resume has limited white space and fills two pages to showcase your extensive experiences and accomplishments. Everything is well organized: spacing is appropriate, company names are in bold, roles are italicized, and job details are organized using bullet points. Most importantly, no typos or errors are found. We prefer that the font was nothing fancy. Too many people obsess over which font to use. We will not comment on the topic of Helvetica versus Georgia font selection, but it should remain simple and easy to read on both the computer and on paper.

Stick to The Facts

When an employer reviews a resume there should not be issues that raise a red flag in their mind. Everything looks believable and the experiences and accomplishments are not exaggerated. Even better, the resume has hyperlinks to the individual’s LinkedIn page and professional web page, which details a portfolio of their work. This makes it easier for employers to verify the resume, which in turn makes the candidate seem to be an honest individual.

What is the best advice? Always tell the truth on your resume.

While significant accomplishments and recognizable company names will give you an edge, make no mistake: Firms will absolutely complete a background check and should they learn that you lied about something, you will not be hired.

State Accomplishments, Not Just  Responsibilities

What employers really want to know is whether you’re an above average candidate who is capable of delivering real results. It’s always preferred to highlight your responsibilities by describing your most impressive wins.

Real world cases:

Instead of “Ran operations for international markets,” write “Enlarged operations to eight new states in the Southwest region.”

Instead of “Led marketing and sales team,” write “Led marketing and sales team and achieved 27 percent yearly increase while just increasing the funding by 6 percent.”

Avoid Overused Statements

The resume has no generic adjectives such as creative, hard-working, driven, superb communicator or team player. Including these overused terms will make a hiring executive pass over your resume. Skip the common adjectives and phrases and use action verbs instead.

More real-world cases:

Rather than “excellent communicator,” say “Presented at client meetings and talked at leading recruiting events.”

Rather than “highly inventive,” say “Created and implemented a new global program tracking platform.”

A few fantastic executive resume samples can be found here.

Always Seek to Receive A Warm Intro

Not everyone will have a relationship with someone at their dream company but knowing someone who can make an introduction is the best means to get an employer’s attention.

The simple fact is that when your resume arrives via a recommendation from a familiar colleague, it makes that person need to find out more about you.

Sending your resume everywhere won’t get you anywhere. That might seem harsh, but here’s the truth: you need to go out of the way to get a warm introduction if at all possible. If you do not have a connection at the hiring company, do your research and find someone who knows somebody with a connection. After that, ask your potential referral for a coffee meeting.

Once you’ve created a real relationship, tell them about the job post you’re considering and ask if they could recommend you. If it’s possible to make this happen, then your resume will likely get read.