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Ways to Boost Your Resume Under 20 Minutes

In: How To

Summer is the low season in hiring, and in September, companies finally get busy looking for new employees. For you as a job-seeker, it means that now is the perfect timing to fine-tune your resume, reconnect with your former colleagues and alumni, and take that big career step you’ve been dreaming of.

Finding a great new job is hardly possible without a strong resume, though. If yours could use some improvement, follow the today’s advice from the best professional resume writers. Below, you’ll find quick, actionable tips that will boost your resume’s quality. And if you saw resume rewriting as a time-consuming process, don’t worry. Most of those updates will take you a couple of minutes.

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17 tips to boost your resume in minutes

Most of the resume advice you’ll find online is bulky and sophisticated. This article contains quick and practical steps you can implement right now even if you don’t have advanced writing skills. At the same time, taking this advice will make your resume look surprisingly better in 20 minutes only – set the timer and make sure!

1. Add the headline that outlines what you excel at

Why? Headlines ease the work of hiring managers trying to fill multiple positions at once. The title makes it clear what role you’re applying to. Moreover, it’s a unique chance to distinct your relevant experience. “Senior Accountant for Fortune 500 Companies” and “Marketing Manager for Fashion Industry” are good examples of how your header might look.

2. Delete the objective statement

Why? Objectives look like you’re stuck in the 2000s. They state something that’s already clear (obviously, you’re applying to the company to get hired and hopefully get promoted in the future). The only exception when the use of an objective makes sense is a career change. In this case, you’ll use an objective to explain how your experience in manufacturing aligns with the target job in software sales.

3. Put the most relevant and impressive things at the top

Why? Writing a summary section that would pitch your accomplishments to the employer isn’t a two-minute task. Yet, there’s something you can do fast. Add the Qualifications Highlights section at the top and restate your relevant experience, skills, and accomplishments there. You’ll kill two birds with one stone, as you’ll make the resume more ATS-friendly and introduce your career profile to the reader.

4. Put the resume sections in order

Why? Recruiters like properly organized and structured resumes. The ideal layout should look as follows: your name, summary, work experience, education, and extra sections. If you’re a student, put education above work experience. Competent resume editors claim that such an order is the most efficient for communicating your expertise and skills.

5. Add figures and percentages whenever it’s possible

Why? Accomplishments given with figures is what distinguishes your resume from the pile of others. All in all, “Responded to 60+ calls from clients daily with 89% problem resolution rate” sounds more persuasive than “Handled inbound calls from customers”. Figures show your professional value and willingness to generate results, and these traits are sought after by employers.

6. List your skills and competencies

Why? Another quick step that makes a huge difference. Create a Skills section and list 8-15 relevant skills and competencies (hint: don’t list MS Word and Internet as skills). For example, if you know how to create a well-crafted roundup post, list blogging, online communications and web writing as skills. You can break those skills by categories, i.e. Technology skills, Management skills, etc.

7. Remove the experience older than 15 years ago

Why? Employers care about your most recent experience and fresh skills. They have little interest in entry-level jobs as a bartender, sales associate or band teller you had twenty years ago. Delete the outdate information. Not only it will make the resume more focused, but also help you save the space so that you don’t exceed the recommended 2 pages in length.

8. Add training and certifications

Why? Any relevant courses and certifications prove your professional competency. Don’t be shy to mention MOOCs, industry certifications and even free training. Whether it’s a certification in a foreign language, programming, online marketing or your industry, it will work for your employability and help you build an image of a competent employee.  

9. Use a modern font that is easy on the eye

Why? Times New Roman and similar fonts are extremely out of fashion. Modern popular fonts such as Arial or Calibri are your safe bets. Keep the font size between 10 and 12 points for better readability, and use bigger font size for your name and section headings. Make sure to stick to the same type of font from the top to the bottom of the document.

10. Add some white space between sections

Why? Little things can be as disengaging as the resume that looks like one giant chunk of text. To make the document less busy visually, leave white space by using margins and extra space between the sections. Thus, the reader will find it easier to skim through the text and look for the needed details. Moreover, the visual formatting is as important for the resume as the content.

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11. Insert links to your portfolio or online profile

Why? Employers will look up for you online anyway, so ease this task for them by including 1-2 live links along with your contact information. Depending on your industry and role, these may be the links to your portfolio of work, your professional social media, website, or blog. Use the links that will add the value to you as a candidate and reveal your strengths. All in all, the role of internet in career building is important these days!

12. Use bullets (if you haven’t done so already)

Why? Returning to the importance of visual appearance, bullet points read better than the paragraphs of text. What is more, nobody is using paragraphs on the resume these days (except for the Summary of Qualifications section). Structure your work experience and accomplishments by starting each sentence with a bullet, with each bullet taking no more than two lines.

13. Remove out-of-date education details

Why? Your high school athletic awards and Dean’s List in college aren’t of much importance if you have 10+ years of work experience. If you have graduated over 5 years ago, limit your education section to the school name, degree, and graduation year. Save that resume space for the work-related achievements, as this is what employers pay attention to at this point.

14. Insert strong action verbs

Why? Recruiters are tired of resume clichés and the overuse of certain phrases such as Managed and Responsible for. Make the language of your resume more precise and diverse by using strong action words, such as Initiated, Implemented, Orchestrated or Conceptualized. Such words draw the attention of the reader because they’re uncommon, and highlight your impact in a glance.

15. Edit the document for a few times

Why? Misspelled words can be huge deal-breakers – they communicate the lack of attention to detail and often lead to your resume being tossed. To make sure you haven’t written ‘pubic relations’ instead of ‘public relations’, edit the document by reading it aloud, sentence by sentence. Online spell checkers are also helpful – software like Grammarly.com can help you eliminate the majority of minor issues in writing.

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16. Add a touch of color

Why? Black and white resumes cannot beat the bright, well-designed ones. Make the document visually brighter by using some color. You might want to use color for headings, add a frame, or particularly highlight some information, for instance, your awards and accomplishments. Don’t use more than one color – going overboard with design might have an opposite effect.

17. Give your resume file an informative name

Why? Take a few more seconds to change the file name of your resume. Naming it as “resume_2020” or “my resume” is the sure way to get it lost on the hiring manager’s computer. Instead, use your name and a job title, for instance, “LaurenMcGillowany_Marketing_Supervisor_resume”. Thus, your resume will be easy to find.

It often happens that you are asked to provide the resume immediately after a friend has put in a word for you to a recruiter filling the position with your dream company. With these tips and tricks you’ll transform an old resume immediately without the need to rewrite the content completely. And consequently, your resume updated as per the latest standards will make a whole different impression.

Consider a professional resume update

The better your resume looks the more quality interview calls you can potentially get. If your job search brings little results right now, making the slight changes might be not enough. You’ll need a complete resume rewrite, ideally performed by the qualified resume writer. A resume creator from our team can write a brand-new resume, highlighting your accomplishments, impact and personality. At our website, this service is highly affordable – take a look at our prices for resume writing.

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