Employing a professional resume writer is your best bet for developing a dynamic, attention-getting document that will get your foot in the door. In the meantime, however, there are a few things you can do to tweak your existing resume and put yourself on the path to resume success. These 5 tips will help strengthen and clarify your accomplishments and tighten your resume’s focus.
1. Separate your tasks from your achievements.
One of the best quick improvements you can make to your resume is to clearly separate your day-to-day tasks from your achievements for each of your job positions. If you’ve used bullet points for every item within a job description, put your day-to-day tasks in paragraph form, and save the bullets for the accomplishments. If your resume is bullet-free, tease out your achievements and make them stand out with bullets. If a reader has just a few seconds to skim your resume, make it easy for him or her to find your accomplishments fast—don’t bury them in a sea or words or a forest of bullets.
2. Use action words.
This is, perhaps, the first rule of resume writing, and it can go a long way toward helping your resume stand out from the pack. As a rule of thumb, every sentence or sentence fragment in your resume should start with a strong action verb, such as increased, strengthened, generated, propelled, utilized, collaborated, or saved. If you find yourself being repetitious (improved…improved…), break out your thesaurus.
3. Remove first-person point of view.
Does your resume start something like this: “I am an accomplished engineer…”? If so, you’ve fallen victim to a common resume mistake: using the first person. First-person point of view involves first-person pronouns (I, me, my), and it has no place in your resume for two reasons: first, it’s too wordy—there’s limited “real estate” on your resume, and you don’t want to waste any; and second, it takes the attention away from what you actually did. Look at these two sentences:
A. I helped my company earn over $4M in revenue during the program’s first year.
B. Played key role in generating $4M+ revenue in 1st year of program.
The second version gets right to the point, and it grabs a reader’s attention. Your resume is yours—but leave your personal pronouns out of it.
4. Keep it short.
In only the rarest cases should your resume extend beyond 2 pages, and entry-level job seekers will be fine with 1 page. If you have a resume that’s too long, you may feel it’s impossible to cut it down, especially if you have many years of relevant experience—but it’s a necessary evil. Get out a red pen or poise your finger on the delete key, and get ready to cut. Prepare yourself by keeping these things in mind:
• A quick, to-the-point resume will get more attention from busy professionals.
• No one needs to hear about every single aspect of each position. Focus on what is most relevant.
• Keep a list of accomplishments to 5 bullet points or fewer to make important aspects stick out.
• Focus on the last 10 years of your career, unless old positions are vital to your objective.
5. Consider your format.
You shouldn’t judge a resume by its font—but many readers will. Avoid “fancy” fonts and alarming font sizes; these will only make you look unprofessional. Use a simple font like Times New Roman or Arial. Avoid using colors, icons, pictures, or graphics of any kind. A page border is fine, even desirable, but again, keep it simple. Strive, above all, for clarity. Can a reader quickly pick out your job titles on the page? Is it easy for him or her to quickly pinpoint your employment dates?
These may sound like obvious points, but many job-seekers get carried away in trying to make their resumes “unique,” sacrificing clarity—and distracting readers from their achievements—in the process.
CleanTechies offers professional resume writing services specifically targeting green positions. Certified expert resume writers with years of experience and almost thousand of resumes written help job seekers at any career stage craft professional resumes. CleanTechies writes resumes targeting roles in renewable energy, resource efficiency, green building, and sustainable transportation as well as other environmental and sustainable positions. CleanTechies is dedicated to helping green job seekers pursue their dream careers.
[photo credit: Flickr]