Whether you’re looking for a new job or not, keeping your resume current and up-to-date is vital if you want to be able to jump onto new openings or network with potential new employers effectively. That said, there’s a lot more to keeping your resume in top shape than simply updating your skills and job titles.
We spoke to a handful of hiring managers and C-level executives in our network to find out the top tweaks they’d love to see on more resumes in the future. From paying closer attention to your filename to honing in on your current or most recent position, here are some of the easiest ways to improve your resume in a hurry.
Your filename should be your full name.
According to Jenna Oltersdorf, CEO and Founder of PR Finishing School, your filename needs to be your name — bonus points to include the position you’re looking for. “I cannot tell you how many times a resume gets lost on a desktop or a digital folder because it’s named RESUME_1!” says Oltersdorf.
Consider some color and visuals.
“Seeing something more than black will catch your hiring officer’s attention, but be sure that you hinge them positively to which they would find you more interesting,” says Robert Johnson, Founder of Sawinery. “Choose minimalist colors and stick to about 2-3 neutral colors only to maintain the professionalism in spite of that tweak you made.” Johnson also suggests adding visuals such as percentage on skills, or a timeline, these are design elements that can make your resume look more appealing.
Ditch the objective statement.
This may come as a surprise, but it’s time to get rid of the objective statement on your resume. Instead, trade it for a summary that clearly tells me about who you are, what you do, and what you are looking to do — treat it as a cover letter. “As a recruiter, if I can’t see what you are looking for within the first couple of seconds, I am going to move onto the next resume, and I have a lot of resumes I can move onto for any given job in the current climate,” explains Charisse Lewis, Career Consultant and Recruiter at Fiverr.
Keep it updated and to the point.
“I hate to state the obvious, but please make sure your resume is updated and relevant when you are applying for a job,” says Lewis. “I can’t begin to tell you how many resumes I see that list hobbies or accomplishments people had in high school, which in many cases was over 20 years ago!” Lewis suggests keeping it focused on your current skills, and keeping it to one page.
Appeal to the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software.
According to Al Smith, Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of Hired! Every Employment Method, over 93% of all companies in America use some type of Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software scanning for keywords. To get to a set of human eyes (recruiter) one must get past the computer’s “eyes” and to do so, you’ll have to make sure your resume has the right keywords to get past the virtual gatekeepers.
No idea what keywords to include for the role you’re after? No worries. Resume writing companies like TopResume have proven experts in dozens of fields that will ensure your resume is packed with all the keywords you’ll need to ensure your resume gets past the computers and into hiring managers’ hands.
Don’t gloss over your current/most recent role.
“Make sure your most recent role is clear, concise and has enough detail,” explains Philip Ayling, Managing Partner at Fox Manning. “People often send a resume with urgency having seen a job they wish to apply for, only adding their current position in brief outline.” Your most recent role is where all resumes are started and will act as an immediate disqualifier if it is seen as irrelevant or limited.
Tweak your resume for each position.
“An easy yet important tweak a candidate can make to their resume to get noticed is rewording it to be specific to the job they are applying to,” says Kimberly Porter, CEO at Microcredit Summit. For example, if it is a management position, reword your introduction, experience, and skills to better highlight what would be relevant for this role.
“This can take as little as ten minutes,” adds Porter, “Already having multiple versions of your resume saved for different types of positions can help save even more time when applying.”