There can be more to a resume than meets the eye. Not only is your resume a summary of your educational and professional accomplishments and talents, it’s a snapshot of your qualifications which can make you a great candidate for a job. Even if your resume is grammatically perfect, impressive in both scope and experience, there can be issues that can be improved. We’ve asked resume experts and hiring experts to share their wisdom and commentary to take your resume to the next level.
Your resume’s messaging needs to be clearer
Your resume’s language should reflect the roles that interest you. Use resources to raise your resume to a higher level. “You can find job postings while you’re building your resume by using Resume Assistant in Microsoft Word,” says Katie Sullivan, senior program manager at Microsoft. “Resume Assistant shows you examples of how real people — in the jobs you want — describe their experience and skills. If the
descriptions of your experience match the role, you’re more likely to be selected.”
Your resume doesn’t highlight your human side
Your passions matter and a resume is a great place to tout your personal side. “Your extracurricular activities and volunteer count as experience,” continues. Sullivan. “They underline your passions, previous responsibilities and distinct work ethic.” Chronicle your civic and community work or share details of a volunteer project you led at work.
Your resume doesn’t really showcase your skills
Make sure your resume has a skills section identifying your strengths, and make sure they match those in the job description. If you’re not sure how to do that, Resume Assistant shows top skills for related
roles in your field, according to LinkedIn. “Filter work experience examples by your skills to get inspired by how others mention those skills on their public LinkedIn profiles,” says Sullivan.
Your resume fails to highlight results
Your resume is the way decision-makers pluck you from the pool of applicants, so make yours describes results you’ve achieved. “Candidates describe roles and responsibilities but not the result of their efforts so a recruiter gets minimal information on what separates this candidate from the pool of hundreds of applicants for the same job,” Sandie Troup, executive recruiter, and career coach. So, be sure to include growth in percentages and how you were instrumental in hitting goals and surpassing them.
Your resume has formatting and spelling errors
There’s no excuse a resume should have grammatical or spelling errors, and this is a sure way not to get invited to an interview. Another red-flag is overused phrases. “I see headlines and words misspelled often, even on senior-level resumes,” says employment coach Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet. Proofread your resume, proofread it again, and then have a trusted friend look it over.
Your resume’s language is blah
If your resume is saturated with weak verbs like “helped” or “assisted” when describing your experiences, the hiring manager may not be impressed. “The problem with weak verbs is that they dwarf the impact of your career accomplishments and make you come off bland,” says Roger Maftean, Career Expert and Content Specialist at ResumeLab. Maftean’s recommendation is to use resume power verbs to highlight your core value proposition and focus on the real-life impact of your work for past employers. “Power verbs like ‘increased,’ ‘spearheaded,’ ‘generated,’ or ‘created’ can mean the difference between an in-person interview and a missed opportunity.”