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Improve your resume with these 10 quick changes

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Bromstein

Do your job application materials need an overhaul? Try these 10 quick changes you can make to improve your resume, save space, and make yourself more hireable.

Resumes are always a work in progress and you should be ready to improve yours at any time. Here are 10 fast and easy changes you can make to improve your resume, save space, and make yourself more hireable

1. Change the font

Helvetica, Arial, and Calibri are easy to read for both humans and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Keep it simple and don’t mess with the font by doing something super fancy. If your goal is to stand out, find another way.

2. Remove your address

There’s no need for a prospective employer to know where you live. It takes up space, and can even cost you the interview because if a manager thinks you live too far away for a comfortable commute they might just skip you outright. And with the recent rise of remote work, the commute is less of a consideration anyway. Take it out.

3. Remove the objective

Objectives are so over. Remove the objective, which is about what you want, and replace it with a one or two-line summary statement about what you can bring to the table and what makes you awesome!

4. Remove irrelevant skills and add relevant ones

To drastically improve your resume, be sure to update your skills. You don’t need to list “email,” or “working alone or independently” as skills. See this list for what to remove. Then, make sure you’ve listed skills relevant to the position and era. Here is a list of in-demand skills for 2020. The advent of COVID-19 has also changed skills requirements. Stay current.

5. Remove positions more than 15 years old or limit to 3-5 jobs

To improve your resume, you should only list 3-5 relevant positions. The rise of job-hopping may make this difficult since your last 5 jobs might only take you back 3 years. Do your best, though. And if you’re moving jobs that much you might want to consider moving less, if possible.

6. Move your education to the bottom

Unless you’re applying for a job in academia, medicine, or some other discipline in which your education is of the utmost importance, employers don’t care about your education. Your experience and accomplishments are much more important.

7. Remove “references available upon request”

Obviously, your references are available upon request. It’s what is expected. There’s no reason to waste real estate stating the obvious.

8. Change the file name

Did you call your resume “resume”? Or “Marie-resume-3”? Those are really bad ideas. Your resume should be saved as “your-name-job-title”. Or something equally simple and self-explanatory. As soon as the hiring manager receives it, they know what they’re looking at, and if they have to go looking for it later, it’s easy to search for.

9. Save as PDF or Word

There’s some debate between PDF and Word over which is the best resume format. They are both readable by bots and people. Some employers prefer one over the other, so always follow the employer’s directions. Don’t use anything else, like Pages. Of the two, .docx is most easily read by most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

10. Link to your LinkedIn profile

No matter how much you improve your resume, there’s probably more relevant information on your LinkedIn profile than you can fit into that one or pages, including recommendations, articles, posts and a longer summary. Link to it and make sure it is as comprehensive as possible – a recent study revealed that a comprehensive LinkedIn profile increases your chance of getting an interview by 71%!

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