Thinking about getting back on the job hunt soon? If it’s been a while since your first job interview, it might be time to revisit your resume and make some edits. To help you get started, check out these resume writing tips from Evanston, IL and online tutor Rachel M.:
So you finally decided to edit your resume. Maybe it was gathering dust under the rest of your files, or perhaps you were running out the door to your new job interview and you realized it hadn’t been edited in over a year. In any case, your resume needs work. The formation of your first resume should start in high school for current students, but this article will focus more on the editing process for older students with more life experience and who have already written at least one version of their resume.
When editing your resume, please keep in mind the following key points:
- Keep a standard structure. In a standard resume, your contact information goes at the top, and then below goes your education, then your work experience, and finally your skills section. Do not try to come up with different names for the sections beyond what is generally used. Work experience could also be called professional experience, but please refrain from using only the title “experience” when resume editing.
- Keep it to one page. This rule is most true for younger students; for all students, the conciseness it is a matter of supreme importance. You don’t want to go on and on about skills or experience that is irrelevant to the position you are applying to. One of the best resume writing tips is to do some editing before each new interview. For work professionals with several decades of experience, there are varying opinions on whether to limit your resume to only one page. As a tutor with one year of resume editing experience, I have edited many resumes of professionals who have CVs that are four or five pages long. I believe that as a tool, you should always have at least a copy of your resume that will fit onto one page. This will allow you to consider what is important and what could perhaps be left out.
- Stay away from verbiage. This tip mostly applies if you are a student with more than 10 years of work experience. You might be tempted to fill your skills (or professional skills) section with lots of technical language, jargon, or other specialized speech that will resonate with the person reading your resume. Even though you might throw around terms like “change management,” “cost reduction efficiency,” or “operational productivity” in your day-to-day dealings, these words have little to no meaning when taken out of context and simply stuck on your resume. Try to develop a more potent list of skills that you possess, such as a list of computer programs that you are skilled in or languages spoken. The less specific you are, the less of an impression you will make on the recruiter.
- Use as many numbers as possible. This resume writing tip applies to all students in any stage of the editing process. Even if you are just starting out writing your resume, it is more impressive to include numbers within the details of each position you have held. For example, if you worked at an animal shelter, “Volunteered to wash the dogs and cats” sounds less important than “Volunteered to wash 30 dogs and cats per day.” Once again, you remove the vagueness from the description and specify the actual work that you did, which distinguishes yourself from your coworkers.
- Use strong verbs. Using stronger verbs within your resume will help to identify your background and will go a long way to endorse your reputation of a direct communicator. Using weak verbs such as “worked,” “was hired,” “was,” or “tried” are sloppy and passive and often make a recruiter gloss over the rest of your resume. If you instead use stronger active verbs like “directed,” “assisted,” “designed,” or “facilitated,” you will keep the recruiter’s attention. You will also be doing yourself a favor by detailing your experience more effectively rather than downplaying your work.
Whatever state your resume is in, remember to update it regularly with career accomplishments and relevant skills, keeping in mind the one-page rule of course. Many recruiters also look at an applicant’s LinkedIn profile before interviewing someone, so make sure to update that if you haven’t already. Resume editing is a painless process that is necessary to getting yourself to that next step in your goals. Above all, try to see this as an excellent opportunity for you to showcase and celebrate the most important person in your life: you. Happy interviewing!
Rachel M. tutors various subjects in Evanston, IL, as well as online. She has an extensive background teaching and tutoring others, especially in ESL, English, French, and special education. Learn more about Rachel here!
Photo by Gabriela Pinto