It’s Always a Good Time to Rewrite Your Resume


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Monday, May 13, 2024
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When was the last time you rewrote your resume? Resumes can get out-dated in both their content and style of presentation very quickly. You need to tend to it like it’s a garden: prune judiciously and cultivate the perennials. You never know when life could throw a curveball your way in the form of a sudden job loss or an exciting new job opportunity. Read on as we break down some tips and strategies to optimize your resume.

Less is More

“Brevity is the soul of wit” holds true for resumes too. A very common resume writing mistake is to overstuff it with information. It’s easy to fall prey to the notion that listing your ENTIRE work history will make you look like a more impressive candidate. What actually happens is that the information you want to highlight gets drowned out by everything else. You don’t want to make a prospective employer have to hunt for critical information. Keep things concise and only list job history and qualifications that are either directly relevant to the position you’re seeking or displays that you’ve received training/experience in a skill-set that could be an asset for this role. Don’t list a barista job you had in high school unless it actually relates to the position you wish to seek.

“You can, however, include transferable skills gained from previous positions,” said Gina Pinch, Rio Salado Faculty Chair for Business, Management, and Public Administration. “For example, maybe a high school job taught you communication or technology skills.”

In terms of page count, don’texceed two pages. For an entry-level position, a one-page resume that gets to the point can make a good first impression. If you’re looking to move into a new field or you’re applying for a more advanced position, an additional page can give room to share more of your skills and background. If your resume is going to be more than one page, make sure that the most important information is on the first page. There’s always the possibility that employers won’t read the second page, so the second page should be reserved for “optional but good to know” information. Save the essential “this is why you should hire me” pieces for the front page.

Unlock Opportunity With Keywords

Before you submit your resume to an employer, look at the job description carefully. The language used to describe the position could contain keywords that will make your resume standout. If there’s a skill mentioned in the listing and you have it, make sure to include it in your resume. Check the requirements/qualifications section to see if are pieces  you have not listed on your resume. Adding these keywords can make a big difference. For starters, it shows that you took the time to read the description (you’d be surprised how many people fail this crucial step). The other reason is that many companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) to filter out resumes that haven’t been optimized with the right keywords. Taking the time to revise your resume so it’s tailored to appeal specifically to the company you’re applying to will increase your chances of a human reading it.

“Also, be sure to proofread your resume carefully,” Pinch said. “You want to present your best self.”

Keep it Clean

Presentation is important in all walks of professional life. A resume that uses wacky fonts, is riddled with typos and spelling errors, and is structured poorly won’t make it to the finish line. Take the time to polish your resume so that it looks clean and appealing. Stick to standard fonts like Arial, Calibri, Georgia, Helvetica or Times New Roman. A font that’s too elaborate or abstracted in its design could actually make it harder for an ATS to read your resume. This is also why you should avoid using graphics in resumes as those can also confuse an ATS and potentially trigger an auto-rejection.

Going back to the earlier point on brevity: too much text can be a huge turn-off for hiring managers. Big blocks of text can be intimidating. Make sure you leave some empty space on the page. Use bullet points and numbered lists, utilize headers like H2’s to create subsections, and/or insert horizontal lines to break up the page and create a schematic that’s easy to follow.

Highlight Your Special Skills

Work history and job training/professional development are the most important elementsto convey on a resume, but don’t forget to include other details like soft skillsprofessional associationsvolunteer experience, or technical certifications. These extra bits of information could be the difference makers that set you apart from other candidates. The golden rule in this case is to ask yourself what kind of story you want to tell an employer- what kind of self-portrait are you trying to paint- and then only utilizing the elements of your personal and professional history that are necessary to tell that story. If you want to emphasize your public speaking skills by mentioning your theater background or those years spent in Toastmasters, put that in there. Maybe your passion for playing music reflects your ability to collaborate with others. 

Remember: only include what helps you. Never put down anything that would confuse an employer or make them ask “why are they telling me this?” You don’t need to pad out your resume with extraneous information: you only have a limited amount of space to tell your story, so use that space wisely.

Should I Use A.I. to Write My Resume?

Many people are using A.I. tools to write and revise their resumes. These tools have pro’s and con’s to them. One advantage to using A.I. for creating resumes is that it can generate templates and outlines for you to work with very quickly. If you’re someone who has trouble with layouts or structuring your writing, this could take a lot of the frustration out of the process. A.I. tools can also be used to scan your resume and the job description you’re applying to for keywords. A keyword search like that can be a fast and efficient way of narrowing your focus so you know what to add to your resume. 

The downside to A.I. tools is that the text generated is very dry and characterless. While a resume isn’t exactly a thrill-ride to read, there may be places within it to convey some passion, some spark of personality (particularly in the mission/objective section). If it reads like dull, uninspired language to you, it’s going to read exactly that way (or worse!) to a hiring manager. The other big issue with A.I. is that it could generate false information about you. You have to edit it very carefully to ensure everything is accurate. Remember that an A.I. lacks the ability to judge or understand degrees of relevance in what it is “writing”: it doesn’t understand what is more important to highlight. 



Article by Austin Brietta


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