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Improve Your Resume in 30 Minutes

In: How To

It’s true that radically improving your resume takes hours, if not days, of writing and editing. Prioritizing the experience, writing strong accomplishment statements and targeting for a specific position cannot be fast. But what if you’ve received a great job opportunity and have to send your resume right now? Or, you are too busy at the moment and cannot allocate hours on resume writing?

The quality of your resume determines whether you’ll get an interview or not. This rule works even if someone recommended you for the position – you still have to prove your worth. Luckily, it is possible to breathe new life into your old resume pretty fast. Our online resume writers are going to share the advice on how you can give the resume a head start in under 30 minutes.

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12 resume improvements you can make in 30 minutes

1. Add a catchy headline

The headline is an effective way to communicate what position you are after. It’s helpful when the company has a number of similar jobs advertised. Moreover, a headline can be used to show your areas of expertise. Here’s an example:

  • Digital Marketing Manager | Content Marketing | Digital Innovation

This kind of headline shows your value proposition and biggest professional strengths. If they match with what the company is looking for, the hiring person will continue reading.

2. Delete the objective statement

Objective statements are out of fashion for multiple reasons. They state obvious things (it goes without saying that you are sending a resume to get the job with a great company and improve your professional skills). They are focused on your needs instead of showing the employer what you have to offer to help them prosper. They don’t show your personality – objective statements in most resumes look the same. Remove this statement at all or replace with a summary of qualifications. Check out how to write a good summary statement: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-write-a-resume-summary-statement-10-examples.

3. Check if the resume format is correct

In most cases it’s better to stick to a chronological resume. This format assumes that you list all the jobs in reverse chronological order and the work experience goes above the education. Your degrees should be placed in a reverse chronological order either. If you opt for a functional format, you need to put all competencies at the top of the document and then list job titles and company names.

4. Polish your work experience

It will take you hours to rewrite the professional experience completely using result-oriented statements. However, it’s possible to make this section look instantly better:

  • Move the most important bullets to the top. 1-2 bullets that go first in the list should cover your most impressive accomplishments or important responsibilities.
  • Start with a strong action verb. Make sure that each bullet starts with a high-impact verb such as ‘Orchestrated’, ‘Directed’ or ‘Implemented’ to highlight your contribution.
  • Remove the obvious or secondary responsibilities. If you’re a senior office manager, no need to mention that you bought supplies. Focus on your experience with building relations and coordinating programs.
  • Include no more than 5-7 bullets for each job.

5. Remove the outdated experience

Feel free to remove jobs you had over 15 years ago. The job market is changing rapidly, and those qualifications are of little interest for the recruiters today. If you want to show the progressive experience, leave the job titles and company names only. Removing the old information will also make your resume shorter and more focused.

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6. Get rid of high school information

If you are an experienced professional, the information about your education should be limited to the university name and degree. High school information belongs to the resume only if you didn’t get any advanced degree. Your academic or sports accomplishments and awards can be mentioned only if you are a recent graduate with no experience. Don’t get stuck in the past. Concentrate on what you have achieved recently as a professional.

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7. Add the relevant keywords

Resume keywording might seem confusing if you’ve never done this before. However, there is a simple and quick method to add relevant keywords. Read the job posting and highlight the qualifications the employer asks for – these are likely to be keywords. Use these exact words and phrases in the resume, concentrating on the top third of the document. Keywords mentioned at the top have more value. You might want to create a Skills section above the work experience and add keywords there in the form of the bulleted list.

8. Remove slang and acronyms

Many companies have their internal slang that people outside of the office won’t understand. Make sure the resume is free from such acronyms as the hiring manager might be confused by them. Also, get rid of slang and another informal language. The resume is a professional document, and slang will be perceived as an example of poor professional ethics.

9. Use a font consistently

Choose the font which is easy to read and available on most computers. Calibri, Arial and Tahoma are all great options. Keep the size between 10 and 12 pts for readability, and use a bigger font for your name and section headings. Use the same font throughout the document and apply the formatting consistently. If you choose to capitalize and boldface company names, do so from the top to the bottom of the document.

10. Make it neat and fresh

Job-seekers often underestimate the importance of neat formatting and design for getting their resume read. Don’t make this mistake. Here’s how to keep the resume clean and uncluttered:

  • Add enough blank space – white space lets the document breathe and makes it easy to look through. The rule of thumb is keeping the spacing at 1.15 and writing no more than 400 words per page.
  • Use color sparingly – you definitely shouldn’t overload the resume with colors. However, using some color for your name, section headers or to highlight important achievements help guide the reader’s eye and make a fresh impression.

11. Use an online spell checker

The online spell checker is not enough to fix all kinds of mistakes. But it will absolutely help you to get rid of typos, grammar and punctuation issues. The statistic shows that mistakes in writing turn the hiring managers off as they see errors like lack of attention to detail and interest in the job. So, use an online spell checker such as Grammarly.com or Grammarcheck.net.

Curious how the resumes of famous people look like? Take a look at some of them here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/5-resumes-of-famous-people-what-you-can-learn-from-them.

12. No more ‘Reference available upon request’

This statement is extremely out of date. It makes little sense – the references will be provided by the job-seeker anyway. You shouldn’t also list the references at the end of the resume. Prepare a separate reference sheet to bring it in when necessary.

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