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5 Quick Tips to Spruce Up Your Resume

resume resume writing Apr 18, 2024
dinosaur writing a resume

Does your resume feel like a fossil? Has it been a little while since you gave it a critical once-over? If you aren't certain of the best ways to freshen up your resume, check out our latest tips to make it effective without looking like something from the Jurassic Period.


  1.  The "Objective" Problem

 If your resume still starts with an objective statement that reads: "To secure a position where I can utilize my skills," then congratulations! You've just used a tactic that went extinct about 20 years ago. In fact, HR often reacts very negatively to vague objective statements or ones that only talk about what you want from the job, such as an "opportunity for growth."


Instead, consider a strong summary statement that describes your best assets as a candidate while using critical keywords for the position. For example, "Proven healthcare manager with over 15 years of building diverse, high-performing teams" is much more relevant and clear.


  1. Stone-Age Technical Skills

 Are you still boasting about your proficiency with Windows 95 or your excellence in fax machine operations? Unless you're applying to be a history teacher for ancient technologies, it's time to hit the delete button. Highlight the skills that say, "I'm as relevant as the latest tweet," not "I've mastered the abacus!"


Not sure which skills you should use and which ones to drop? Check out current job postings for your target position. Be sure to include the computer programs, languages, and technical skills listed in that job description. However, don't stop there; compare at least 3- 5 job postings at different companies. If any of your skills on your resume fail to appear in any of those postings, it is time to make it extinct.


  1. The Novelty of Brevity

 Michael Crichton's 1993 novel Jurassic Park is 466 pages long. Your resume is not the place to recreate this epic. Managers can barely read through their emails, let alone a six-page opus about your work life. Keep it to two pages, max—because if they wanted to read a novel, they'd at least choose one with actual dinosaurs in it.


As Stephen King stated in his nonfiction book, On Writing, "Kill your darlings." That doesn't mean you kill your favorite characters; instead, don't be so enamored with your own writing that you miss the point. Sometimes, you need to remove unnecessary words. Stay relevant, direct, and clear.


  1. Achievements Over Tasks

 No one cares that you "managed email correspondence" or "attended weekly meetings." What they want to know is what happened because you did all that. Did your email strategies increase customer satisfaction by 50%? Did your meeting doodles become famous office artwork? (Okay, maybe not that one…)


Do you struggle with developing your achievements? Many jobs are not tied to easy metrics like sales quotas. If that is your case, remember that any quantifiable metric can improve your resume. For example, consider such factors as the number of people you supported, the size of your projects, how many customer calls you fielded, or the problems that you solved.


  1. The Design Dazzle

 While you may have been warned not to use color or graphics in your resume, it is actually possible to include design concepts that convey your personality – just don't go nuts!


Your resume should not be a rainbow explosion or a font sampler. Ideally, use a clean, professional layout and maybe a splash of color. Remember, you want to stand out, not confuse the reader (or the screening computer, for that matter).


Not sure how far you can take your design concepts? Working with a professional resume writer who understands exactly how the ATS or online application systems will interpret the content of your resume. Some designs work, and some graphic elements will make the computer choke – but unless you have guidance from an expert, you probably won't know which ones will hurt or help you.


Need some expert guidance?

 Now, if all this seems more daunting than extracting dinosaur DNA from ancient bugs trapped in amber, fear not! We offer a free 30-minute Phone Consultation with one of our career coaches. They're ready to dissect your resume and provide an expert opinion tailored just for you.

 Simply select a day and time that doesn't clash with your pet velociraptor's obedience class through our online scheduler:


PLEASE NOTE: Our services are currently limited to people in the US and Canada. Free consultations are limited to one within a 12-month period.

Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline

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