Let’s be honest – nobody’s resume is perfect. And it’s difficult to know how to improve — if you ask five resume experts about the ideal resume, you’ll get five different answers. But the important thing is to make your resume as close to perfect as possible. With that in mind, here are five things you can change on your resume right now to make it as effective as possible.
1) Replace long paragraphs with short bullet points. Recruiters read resumes in 15 to 30 seconds. Try reading yours in that short amount of time and see how far you get. By bulleting your job descriptions and shortening each sentence, you make it easier for recruiters to digest the maximum amount of information about you.
2) Start every sentence with a verb. You want to make recruiters see you DOING the things on your resume, and in order to do that, you have to describe your ACTIONS. Start each bullet point with an action verb (present tense for present jobs, past tense for past jobs). For example:
- Prepare clients in selecting appropriate insurance coverage given situational needs
- Troubleshoot issues with existing client policies and assist clients in all respects
- Mentor new agents and provide advice and guidance using strong interpersonal skills
3) Make your formatting consistent. Every section title (Experience, Education, Certifications, Summer of Qualifications, etc.) should be the same font size and style. Your spacing should be the same throughout.
4) Add numbers throughout. The more things you can quantify, the more detailed picture you’ll create for recruiters. For example:
- Executed training program for 20+ new employees and continuing education for 100 existing employees
- Successfully obtained 15 new client companies throughout New England
- Grew company’s Facebook page from 500 fans to 6,000 in six months
5) Be descriptive with companies and job titles. If you worked for a company that isn’t well-known whose name doesn’t convey their line of business, add that detail onto your resume. And if your job title is confusing or vague, add some detail to that as well. Using parentheses works for both situations. For example:
- Client Service Representative (customer service)
- Bennett & McLain LLC (computer software)