Five Easy Tips to Modernize Your Resume

Editor: Natasha Gan

Disclaimer: I am not an expert when it comes to resume writing. I was asked a couple of times to review resumes. Because of that, I did some research (hint: google-ing) and found some useful tips. Here they are.

1. The Mindset

Many people view resume as a piece of paper to get a job. It is a means to get an interview. Once the job is secured, the resume is never revisited until a new or potential job prospect is in sight.

This was fine in the 70’s where people typically stayed in a company for a long time. Seniority was valued. Frequent job change raised an eyebrow. This is also true for recent graduates or current students looking for summer or entry-level jobs since the professional aspect of their curriculum vitae does not have enough to impress, yet.

Whatever the case is, I think the resume should be treated as a branding/marketing document. To market yourself, that is. It’s about the overall mindset in building a resume. A branding document says something about you. Yes, YOU! Your strength, abilities, capabilities, skills, experiences (if any) and passion.

Today’s employment landscape has shifted. Switching between companies within a reasonable amount of time is normal. It is actually a good thing if the reason for the change is “opportunity to grow” even though in reality it simply means that the other company pays more. Therefore, our relationship with the resume becomes a constant affair. Since the resume will be viewed frequently, and virtually, keeping it fresh and sexy are essential.

2. Start With a Bang!

It’s 4:37 PM on a Friday. You are tired, the coffee is getting cold and most people had left the office. The only person there is the tech support guy who is already (and virtually) hanging out with his online friends. And yet, you still have a pile of resumes to review. Would you be thrilled to review each resume properly? Most probably not. Never mind the late Friday sad story. The task of reviewing resumes is tedious. To give your resume a higher chance of falling into the “for further review” bin, you need to convince the hiring manager early. This is also known as the elevator pitch. The best place to do it is at the beginning where you state your objective or summary. The trick is to pour is some passion to get some attention.

Example 1:
A responsible janitor looking for janitorial work. (typical)
A janitor with 15 years of toilet cleaning experience. (boring)
A sanitary engineer who has improved the health of more than 10000 people by providing access to clean washrooms. (better)
Example 2:
A pizza delivery guy with 5 years of experience. (typical)
Food delivery professional famous for keeping hungry and impatient customers satisfied. (nice)
Expert in solving hungry people’s problem by delivering tasty food on time with a signature smile to guarantee repeated business. (genius!!!)

3. Share the cool wins not the boring chores

Boring resumes have overused and vague words that do not really say much. Listing accomplishments is trending nowadays. It is better to write “achieved 10% more sales in cookies from previous year” rather than “responsible for the cookie selling department” because it implies your role (sales) and your goal.

The intention is to be clear and concise. Being vague is not going to persuade people to hire you.

4. KISS

Keep It Simple and Sexy! It is better to have a piece of paper that gives a good idea of who you are rather than 3 pages of resume that looks more like a detective story. If the experience does not contribute to the job you are applying, cut it out. Declutter your resume. Simple is elegant!

5. Go pro

Have a professional to look at your resume. There are career centers that offer this type of service for free. They can pick up on small things that can make your resume stand out. You have to spend money on clothes for your interviews anyway. So, budget this into your overall job-hunting expenses. You want to look good both in person and on paper.

Good luck!

Sources:
The New Rules of Personal Branding for Job Seeker
The Five Ways You are Ruininig Your Resume
Top 10 Questions About Resume Writing by Mark Swartz