We live in a fast-paced world. We crave speed and convenience for the sake of productivity.
When it comes to resume writing, you want to take your time, ensuring every piece of content is carefully crafted and targeted to whichever jobs you are pursuing. But even once you’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy towards your resume, there may still be room for improvement.
Here are some quick fixes that you can apply towards improving your resume. And the best part is that none of them should take more than 20 minutes to implement.
1. Power Up with Keywords
The importance of resume keywords can’t be overstated. They are focal points for anyone reading your resume as well as applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by recruiters to automatically filter job applications.
If you’ve only got a few minutes to spare and want to upgrade your resume, spend some time comparing your resume to the job description. Whatever terms are listed under “Qualifications” or “Key Competencies” or “Required Skills” are the keywords you want to weave into your resume.
There’s a good chance that this type of audit will reveal some missed keywords.
2. Verb Swap
Action words can also be considered a form of resume keyword. They aren’t part of a job description, but an employer still wants to see them. Action words have the power to persuade.
In very little time, you can transform the conviction of your resume by removing dull or vague verbs and replacing them with active, specific verbs.
Each line item used to describe your previous work experience starts with a verb: managed, wrote, produced, led, etc. These are the words that deserve your attention.
Take the word “Led” as an example. Swapping it with “Spearheaded” sounds bolder and more impactful. Here are several more action word examples you might want to apply.
3. Add Your Accomplishments
Your resume needs to persuade employers that you can bring value to their organization. And the best proof points for conveying value focus on accomplishments. That’s because they offer examples of tangible results.
Some of the bullets you list under past jobs on your resume will describe the functions you served. But focusing solely on functions or tasks is a missed opportunity.
Go through each of the past jobs you list and ask yourself “What did I accomplish at this job that will be impressive to recruiters?” Ideally, you’ll come up with more than one for each position.
The more specific and results-focused, the better. Here’s an example to inspire you:
Revamped the company Facebook page, growing it to more than 95.000 followers (up 38% in just 2 months) and generating over 1.200 customer leads.
4. Trim the Fat
This is probably the easiest way to improve your resume in a timely fashion.
Remember that the consensus amongst recruiters is that the perfect resume is one to two pages maximum. And for people with lots of relevant skills and experience, that means it can be tough to squeeze everything they want to write onto limited space.
Trimming away unnecessary words or sentences will not only give you more space to work with it also improves the readability of your resume. You want the recruiter to be able to move through your resume with ease and you want them to be persuaded by your writing style.
Active language is the most engaging. It involves using lots of action verbs and minimal adverbs. A great place to start trimming is to comb your resume for words like “easily”, “greatly”, “creatively”, etc.
You also want to try to eliminate too much repetition of key competencies relevant to the position. For instance, maybe the job description calls for strong organizational skills. Even if you have several proof points from across different jobs that exhibit this skill, you only need to include one.
Still need to find some extra space? If you’ve included it, please, please drop your Resume Objective. That is soooo 2002. Write a strong resume summary instead.
And you don’t have to include your list of references on your resume unless an employer or job description explicitly asks for it.
Follow these steps and you’ll make your resume lean and mean.
5. Make it skim-mable
One of the biggest advantages of using a resume builder is that it allows you to easily implement an eye-catching design and easy-to-read resume format.
A strong resume layout will make your resume skim-mable to a recruiter, who tends to spend only a couple of minutes with each resume that crosses his or her desk. Emphasizing the most important information is pivotal towards getting them to put your resume in the “yes pile”.
Even if you have used a resume builder to create your resume, you may want to ask yourself if you’ve organized your resume information in the most effective manner. Is the most relevant information near the top of your resume, or have you accidentally buried it near the bottom?
Fortunately, a good resume builder will allow you to move content elements around with ease until you find the perfect layout.
Just like the rest of the above tips, rejigging your content sections shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes of your time.