Thinking of a resume refresh? Read on for some quick tips on how you can easily improve your resume!

Formatting

I never recommend using built-in templates from word-processing software. They may look good initially, but when it comes time to change or update your document, it can be a royal pain to do so.

Also, recruiters and hiring managers tend to know what these templates look like and chances are you’ll get negative points for using one of them. Instead, look around the web or ask friends for examples and see what formats look good to you.

If you’re not comfortable creating your own, don’t be shy about asking for help in this arena. Libraries often offer free workshops or you could get assistance from your local Unemployment or Workforce Development office.

There are hundreds of books on the topic of resumes as well – take a look at their examples and see what visually appeals to you. You want to make sure there is enough “white space” on your document to make your resume look clear and easy to read.

A good rule of thumb is to keep one -inch margins on all sides. This can be broken if you are striving to get your information to one page, just be careful to keep your font at least 10pt if not larger for ease of reading!

Style

Are you targeting your resume to the field correctly? If you are entering a creative field but your resume is plain and boring, it may need some (professional) spicing up. Conversely, the opposite could be true – perhaps you’ve decided to target more conventional companies and your font is screaming “I’M FUN AND ARTISTIC AND FLOWERY!” Nothing wrong with those attributes of course, but if you want to be taken seriously as an accountant in a Top 4 Firm, you may want to scratch the purple ink.

Chronological or Functional?

You may be used to writing a chronological resume, but if life circumstances have changed or you are switching fields, one way to make an immediate impact with your resume is to switch up the format.

I worked with one client recently who was really struggling with her resume. She had a broad range of experience and writing her resume chronologically seemed to her to represent her work history in a scattered and “mish-mash” kind of way.

Adding to this frustration was her inability to see what her skills really were, all that stood out to her in this format was her short- term job hopping. When she instead decided to write a functional resume – highlighting her skills rather than listing her jobs, she realized she had a lot more to offer and also became clearer on her future path. This can be a powerful option in the right circumstance.

Out With the Old, In With the New

It can be very easy to rely on some of our early accomplishments, while forgetting present “wins”. I’ve worked with students who are succeeding in the college world but forgetting to add any of their leadership achievements or volunteer work to their resume because their old high school successes are taking up too much space.

Don’t be afraid to let go of some of your early experiences, and remember what you are doing presently that showcases your skills. If you are having trouble coming up with some examples, this is a good indication that it’s time to deepen your “extra-curricular” involvement or step up your game in your current position.

It’s a red flag to employers if all of your stand-out achievements are more than two years old!

And finally…

Start Over

If you’re really struggling with improving your resume, try starting from scratch. Believe it or not, it can be harder to edit a document we’ve been working with for years. If you really want to improve your resume, try creating a fresh new one – maybe even two or three. Ask your friends for feedback on your strengths and skills and write one from a whole new angle. Your new perspective may surprise you!

Updated: 09/02/2017
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Adil Khan
Adil Khan is freelance writer and a Computer Engineer by profession. He started writing articles for CareerThoughts.com in 2016. He writes a opinion column for a local newspaper. He is yet to join Twitter!

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