Have you been thinking about starting a new career? When Monday rolls around, do you tell yourself that this is the week you’re going to fix that resume and start job hunting? Or maybe, like many New Year’s resolutions, your goal to find a new job ended nearly as soon as it started?
It may be spring, but it’s not too late to revive those goals.
So, what exactly should be your first step in getting back into that job-hunting groove? Take the idea of spring cleaning and apply the same concept to clean up your resume with the tips below.
Toss Out the Objective
Take advantage of the space you have and get rid of the objective. It’s an outdated feature. You want to keep your resume to 1-2 pages, and you don’t want to waste space by including a generic objective or summary with a bunch of buzzwords.
The skills you want to showcase in your objective or summary can easily be communicated in other ways throughout your resume. Focus on showcasing your achievements and allow your skills to shine throughout your work experience.
References Aren’t Needed
What else should you leave off your resume? References. There’s no need to include them on the resume itself. If a recruiter or employer is interested, they’ll ask you for them. Even including the simple phrase “references upon request” isn’t necessary. Recruiters already know this.
Only provide letters of recommendation if they will really affect or influence the decision maker – REALLY influence. If you’re including a letter of recommendation, it better be from someone like the president of the United States or the VP of technology at Google.
Keep Only What’s Relevant
You don’t need to put everything on your resume. Is it really necessary to include that summer job from high school? Probably not. Resumes aren’t intended to be an extensive list of every job you’ve had. Your resume is a way to market yourself, and you want to put your best work forward.
Include and highlight what is most relevant to the job you’re applying for. This especially rings true if you’re switching careers. Not everything you’ve done in the past will make sense to put in front of a potential new employer. Decide what makes the most sense.
If you don’t have any employment relevant to the new career path you’re trying to take, focus on accomplishments in your previous jobs that could translate into reasons you’d be successful in this new role.
Display the Right Numbers
Show action, not just talk. Your resume should tell a story of what you’ve done in your past positions that have made an impact, not what you plan to do in future positions to make an impact.
How do you prove yourself? By using the right numbers on your resume. Showcase a project you’ve worked on or an accomplishment you’ve achieved. Share the end result because numbers speak for themselves.
If your current job doesn’t really have numbers you can use, share results or achievements. For example, maybe your customer service skills led you to win employee of the month.
Ditch These Numbers
Not all numbers are needed. Remove unnecessary information such as your full address and just keep your city and state. Not only is a full address not needed, it’s a safety issue if you’re planning on uploading your resume to a public site such as LinkedIn.
Remove graduation dates. It’s unnecessary clutter; it could also lead to potential judgement of age. Speaking of school, you don’t need to list your GPA. If anything, it’s better to highlight any honors you may have achieved instead.
Organize with a Bulleted Format
A big part of cleaning up your resume is organizing everything you want to include. Is it overwhelming? Is it easy to read through? One simple fix is to use bullet formatting:
- It helps keep your resume organized.
- It allows you to showcase your best selling points.
- Let’s be real. It’s a lot easier to read.
Keep It Neat and Polished
There’s no perfect font for a resume, so just make sure it’s easy to read. Simple, crisp and modern fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica and Tahoma tend to work best.
Generally, you’ll want to stay away from too much color, but sometimes a simple pop of color as an accent can help bring attention to certain focal points on your resume. Just don’t get wild with too many colors or ones that may be hard to read. If you’re unsure, look for resume templates online to use or to get inspiration from.
Should You Keep Your Interests? Maybe.
You can include certifications you’ve received, seminars you’ve attended, workshops you’ve taken, even some of your interests. But, list something only when it makes sense. Make sure that anything you include could directly impact or is relevant to the job you’re applying to.
Including a link to your personal fitness blog will make more sense for a fitness instructor looking to switch employment to a new gym, but not so much for someone in finance applying for a position with a new bank.
Brush Up on Industry Knowledge
Remember that every industry, employer, recruiter and job are very different. What you should or shouldn’t include on your resume can vary depending on many factors. A graphic designer’s resume should look very different from an accountant’s.
You know your area of business best, and if you’re in the midst of changing industries, it may help to ask a colleague or a recruiter in that field for their input.
Have any resume tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
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