Spring Cleaning 2015: Tips on Improving Your Resume

March 2015

While the job market has become less dependent on resumes due to the emerging prominence of LinkedIn and open source sites, they are still an important piece of the puzzle. Resumes provide employers with the first glimpse of a candidate during the hiring process. If job seekers neglect to properly market their skills and experience, they stand the chance of being discarded into the wrong pile of unqualified candidates.

With the first day of spring today,now is as good a time as any to add your resume to the list of items you plan to spruce up, and could provide you with a much greater return on your investment than those “simple” DIY projects you’ve wanted to complete. Below are 5 Tips on how you can make your resume work for you:

1. It’s All About the Numbers

While you always want to describe the value you brought to your former companies, being able to quantify that value is what is going to take things a step further. As opposed to simply listing the fact that you decreased overhead, how about including the percentage? Did you exceed sales goals? What was the dollar figure and percentage of increase? Use numbers whenever possible—to describe people, retention rates, sales, projects, etc.

2. Get Technical

Taking advantages of today’s increasingly digital environment can be a great way to make your resume stand out. Do you have any online examples of work you’ve done? Providing links to projects or portfolios is a simple way to showcase your skills and propel you to the next level. Something else to consider is including a link to your LinkedIn profile. This can provide job posters an additional way to contact you as well as a glimpse into your professional social media presence and network. Check out Addison Group’s List of LinkedIn Tips for great ways to utilize the platform.

3. Design to Shine

The design and format of your resume are critical to functionality. The classic chronological resume isn’t the only style, and it’s important to choose a format that best highlights your strengths. Take a look at your resume. Does the order of the information reflect your value as a candidate? If not, consider looking at CareerBuilder’s Resume Examples, which provide before and after samples and formatting suggestions for resumes that vary by industry and experience level.

4. Try it Tailor-Made

While it might sound overly-ambitious to create a new resume for every position you apply for, there are several easy ways to market yourself to a particular company. One is to comb through the language in the job posting, and see if there are any places you can subtly weave some of it into your resume. Incorporating similar action words will allow your resume to resonate with the hiring manager.

5. Tell the Whole Story

Employers look for consistency in work history. So if there is something that disrupts that flow, be sure to address it somehow on the page. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the formula in order to explain yourself. Did you take a year off to travel? Include a section with a title like “Cultural Enrichment” and use it to market yourself as a culturally competent professional. And when you’re finished writing the resume—memorize it.  Being aware of all key dates and primary responsibilities will allow you to own your work history and use your resume to tell the interviewer a story.

A well-organized, targeted resume that underscores your professional skills and personality can separate you from other candidates, and bring you one step closer to getting the job you’ve always wanted. Following these few tips to dust the cobwebs off of your existing resume is an excellent way to present yourself as a polished professional!