While I’m all for a complete overhaul of run of the mill resumes (I’m pretty notorious for being anti-work history resume and very pro-functional resume) sometimes opportunity knocks suddenly and we don’t have time to completely remake our resume into an irresistible work of genius, sometimes, all we have time for is a few quick fixes before we send it out the door and into the hands of fate and application systems. What folks often forget is that the average corporate job posting receives 250 resumes for consideration, which forces managers to be pretty cut throat about their selection and rejection processes. Plus, since the average resume is only reviewed for 6 seconds before a decision is made on whether to dump it or give the applicant a chance, it is even more important to make sure that you make the right modifications to the content before you submit yourself for consideration- no matter the time crunch.
In cases like that, the best things you can do with the limited time you have are to:
1.Get rid of filler info that clogs up and hides the important information. The average resume is only reviewed for 6 seconds before a decision is made on whether to dump it, or give the applicant a chance, by keeping in filler information that adds no real value, you are lessening the impact your resume has on the reviewer. Here is what you can get rid of the clear up space: 1) your high school or college GPA unless you meet two criteria a) you’re fresh from school and b) your GPA is impressive, 2) extra forms of contact- keep it simple with one professional email address- no one is going to take lilcutie92 @gmail.com seriously when applying for a senior accounting position. and one phone number with your area code (extra tip, double check that your voicemail is up an operating, too). You can also hit delete on the handful of, essentially, participation trophy style “awards” or certifications you got over the years that really mean nothing- getting a customer service award 5 years ago along with the entire department/team isn’t that impressive to a recruiter or hiring manager, so don’t waste space on it.
2. Rephrase bland statements and add punch and emphasis to your talents and accomplishments. When working on the verbiage of your resume, keep your two new best friends nearby- the thesaurus and job description of the position you’re applying for. After walking through your resume as it stands, whip out the thesaurus (or just go to thesaurus.com) and try to find bland style words you can replace with synonyms that stand out. For example, instead of ‘worked with management’ you can pack a punch to the same task by rephrasing it to read ‘aligned with leadership’. Consult the job description as well for what verbiage and phrases to use to make your resume not only resonate well with those who wrote the job description, but to ensure that it doesn’t become part of the 75% of resumes that get filtered out by ATS prior to being handed over for management review.
Need more help rephrasing those bland resume phrases?
Click here to get access to my top 10 replacement phrases that pack a powerful punch and 30 key action verbs that stand out from the crowd
3.Modify the look-and-feel by changing the font and adding colored headers. When reviewing a resume, it can be hard to navigate through the content quickly to find key points (remember, most managers don’t read resumes in full but simply skim quickly) if everything is the same color and font. Help the reviewer find your key takeaways and points of data by adding headers in a different color and font than the body text of the resume (snag free resume templates that do this well here). You can also go the extra mile and use the company brand colors to help place emphasis on how you are a great fit for the company and culture. Sometimes it is the little things that can make a difference.
Doing a quick resume refresh like this every few months (and especially before submitting it) is an important and quick task you can take on to refresh yourself with your goals, talents, and accomplishments, as well as to avoid the mistake of submitting an out of date or blasé resume.
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