When people are looking for a job, their resumes and cover letters often represent only way for them to really introduce themselves to prospective employers. With that in mind, it's very important for would-be hires to do more to stand out from the crowd by making those documents really strong from the first word to the last. That may be critical on a resume in particular.
With that in mind, here are just a few ways to improve a resume from start to finish:
1) It begins at the top
While hiring managers probably should read every word of every resume and cover letter they receive - it's in the job description, after all - the fact is that they don't always do so, according to Lifehack. As a result, it's vital for applicants to make sure they're grabbing the reader's attention as quickly as possible, with an engaging headline that quickly highlights a person's skills, and a one-sentence summary just below it that builds on that headline and quantifies how much experience the applicant has.
In fact, quantifying various aspects of one's experience and work is a strategy that should be applied throughout the application, not just at the top.
2) Streamline it
Meanwhile, there's a big difference between having a resume that doesn't do enough to highlight why a person is right for the job, and having one that goes way too far, Lifehack further noted. Getting the right balance here goes a long way toward ensuring a resume is read in its entirety and is never a chore.
That means it's wise to re-read the resume many times over to make sure there are no excess words that would be better off cut, nothing is repeated, and job descriptions are kept brief (if they need to be explained at all). It's also wise to ensure there's a good font choice and perhaps even to ensure that important words are bolded or italicized.
3) Cut the "objective"
One mistake many people still make these days is that they include what their objective is in seeking the job for which they are applying, according to Forbes. However, this isn't really something that needs to be stated - hiring managers know, either because they're applying in the first place or because of what's put into words through a cover letter, exactly why they're applying: They want a job.
As a result, applicants can just excise the "objective" section of their resumes completely.
4) Be honest
It is, of course, tempting for people to fudge the facts on their resumes a little bit, according to Monster. Everyone wants to present themselves as well as possible, after all. However, doing so even here and there on a resume can result in some bad outcomes even if the applicant gets the job. If someone says they're "proficient" in a coding language when they only know it in passing, for instance, they will likely be counted on to actually be proficient and when they're not, it can be a real problem.
Instead of fluffing up facts to make themselves more appealing, applicants might be wiser to accentuate the positives of their actual experience and skills.
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