Ten ways to build a better resume today
Having a great resume is an important part of the job search process. But, it can go wrong quickly if you’re not careful. Below are a few tips to help you spruce up your resume today.
- Use just your first and last names only. And, use the first name you go by on a daily basis. As strange as it sounds, your resume is more likely to get attention with the name “Chris” than with “Christopher.” Here are 13 surprising ways your name can have an impact on your success. Quite a few are unfortunate, but they are good to be aware of.
- Update your e-mail address. If you have an e-mail address that ends in @aol.com, @comcast.net, or any other e-mail extension from the 90s, it’s time to get a new one. Don’t worry; you can keep your old e-mail, but take it off your resume. By keeping an AOL e-mail address, you’re telling the company right up front that you’re behind on technology.
- Leave your age out of it. Drop your graduation years off of your resume. If you’ve been working for many years, consider dropping an old position or two. And, be sure your e-mail address doesn’t contain your birth year, your graduation year, or any other year tied to your age.
- Include a phone number that’s local to the city where you live. It’s not unusual to have an area code in a city on the other side of the country. In fact, it makes sense. Why would you change your cell phone number? But, you do want to be sure companies realize when you are in fact local. Rather than paying for a new number, check out Google Voice. They’ll give you a local number that redirects to your existing cell phone. It’s free and easy to use!
- Leave off your GPA. If you are more than a few years out of college, it is rarely appropriate to include your GPA or other test scores on your resume. Unless you’re in a very specific field where this is the norm, nix these details from your resume.
- Include results. Don’t just tell them you’re a great salesperson. Share your sales numbers. Include the percentage that you beat your goals by last year. Show the incremental revenue you generated. Stating your results in terms of numbers allows someone outside your company to truly understand the scope of your role.
- Look for typos. One of the quickest ways to lose a job opportunity is to have misspellings in your resume. Here are a few of the most common misspelled words.
- Check your formatting. It’s very important that your resume is easy to read. Mismatched formatting can make it impossible for the reader to understand your resume. Check to be sure every job is formatted in the same way. Every piece of educational history should be formatted the same way, etc.
- Save your resume as a PDF. It sounds weird, I know. But, when you e-mail your Microsoft Word resume to someone else, there’s a 50-50 chance it will look the same on their screen as it does for you. Worst case, your two page resume is four or five pages, with big font. The simple step of saving as a PDF ensures that your resume will look the same for them as it does for you.
- As a friend to proofread your resume. Pick someone who works in a different industry than you. You’d be surprised at just how many things you’ll include are specific to your industry. If your friend is confused, a recruiter will be too. Take the time to do this step and your resume will be easier to read for more people.
A resume is a critical piece of your job search. In addition to these ten tips, my eleventh tip is: do your resume yourself. Stay away from a resume writer who doesn’t know your work history. As annoying as it is, there’s value in you working through your own resume improvements. On top of ensuring everything is accurate, you will have the opportunity to think through your personal brand. If you do need help, reach out to a career coach (like me) who can work WITH YOU to make the improvements to your resume.
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.