Spring Cleaning: 5 Ways to Enhance Your Resume

Hands typing on laptop in the grass to illustrate spring cleaning your resume

Spring Cleaning: 5 Ways to Enhance Your Resume

As the weather gets warmer and we get more hours of daylight, we get a little more motivated when it comes to housekeeping and organization. We clean out closets, cars and garages to prepare for summer, dust off the cobwebs and get out there into the world. While you’re feeling this new sense of motivation, it’s great time to do some resume maintenance. A study by online job search service provider, The Ladders revealed that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds reading a resume. It’s important for you to stand out and get noticed, and to do so for the right reasons. Here are 5 tips to enhance your resume and ensure that it makes it to the “yes” pile.

Don’t Write Your Autobiography

Job-seekers often ask just how long their resume should be. The short answer is that it depends. Monster provides a relatively easy gauge in an online article about resume length. In a nutshell, they recommend a one page resume if you have less than 10 years of experience, if you are changing to a different industry, or if all of your experience has been with one employer. Two page resumes are usually for those with more than 10 years of experience, or if you are in a field where you may need to list a great deal of technical experience; engineers for example. Three page resumes are usually reserved for senior- level executives or managers, and those with a long list of publications or certifications. If your resume is longer than 2 or 3 pages, make sure it’s worth the read. Your resume is like a brochure about you and your skills. Focus on including those things that best market you for the position you’re currently seeking.  Trimming your resume leaves room for you to add more recent experience, and include some other notable information that employers may find valuable.

That’s So 15 Years Ago

If you’ve been in a certain field for a while, you may have some information in your resume that you don’t necessarily need to include anymore. Most sources recommend taking out anything that is more than 15 years old. If you have been out of the job market for a while or have limited experience, you may not want to remove older information as it pertains to your current job search. In that case, you may just want to include the job title, company name, and the dates of your employment. Removing additional details will help with the length of your resume as well. Certain industries require proficiency in different software programs and operating systems. It’s important to make sure that the experience listed on your resume is relevant in the current job market.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

While it makes sense to group the skills you have acquired with the position where you acquired or refined them, you may wish to consider adding a summary of your skills and expertise at the top of your resume. Keeping in mind that earlier6 second statistic, you can imagine why giving a recruiter these “Cliffs Notes” of your resume will help them lock in on your skills and accomplishments early on. This will help you at least make it through the first round of candidates, and hopefully get chosen for an interview. It’s also important to note that most recruiters are searching their databases for candidates using keywords that are relevant to the position they wish to fill. Making sure you include job titles and relevant industry skills will help them find you faster and easier.

Don’t Just Say it. Prove it.

One key way that job-seekers fall short on their resumes is by not showing proof of their skills and accomplishments. Give your resume a critical look to see if you’re listing skills and qualifications without backing them up with evidence. Consider revising language or information that does not definitively describe a concrete way that you helped improve a situation, generate revenue, save money, or solve a problem. For example, instead of simply stating that you have “excellent problem solving skills,” include a process or procedure that you put in place that helped your organization. To stay focused on creating the best resume for your desired career choice, this article on Resume Genius gives some good examples of the skills that are often required or preferred in specific industries.

Being Charitable Can Really Pay Off

Volunteering has many benefits to your community and the organizations you support. It can also be a fabulous resume enhancement tool. You may even be volunteering already and have simply not considered it something resume-worthy. A Monster article states that just because you aren’t compensated financially for a skill or job you’ve done, doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have the talent for it. Providing volunteer experience, especially as it relates to your desired career or industry, can give additional weight to your expertise in the field. There are a few ways to include this experience on a resume. You can include it in a skills section if it is specifically related to your career or job. You could also simply put it in a short section at the end with a heading like “Hobbies and Interests” or “Volunteer Work”. If your volunteer work isn’t related to your specific industry, it can still be a valuable addition to your resume. Employers may view your ability to hold a job and still find time for humanitarian causes. This also speaks to your desire to give back, and to think of the world outside of your own needs. Remember that when it comes to your resume, you should only include those elements of your experience that portray you in the best possible way. If your volunteer experience can be perceived as controversial or too thought provoking, it may not be wise to include it. When in doubt, leave it out.

Some people can be very protective of their resumes and experience, and hesitant to take out older or nonessential information. I remember feeling the same way the first time someone suggested I remove some of my old restaurant industry experience. I felt like this was valuable experience that a potential employer would be interested in. The fact was that once I started to pull out that older information, I realized there were other relevant skills that I hadn’t even included. These skills were much more impactful because they related to my more recent positions. The purpose of spring cleaning is to organize and clear out those things you won’t be using for a while; to make room for those more seasonally appropriate or new items. Whether you’re cleaning your home, business, calendar or resume, you’ll feel so much better once it’s done!

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike. http://bradleystaffinggroup.com/job-seekers/

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