6 Quick Tips to Improve Your Resume

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Worried your resume isn’t attracting the right employers and wondering how you can improve it? While a perfect, cure-all formula is still elusive, below are some quick tips that can help you improve your chances of making it to the interview round. The best part; they spell R-E-S-U-M-E.

1. Readable

Do’s

  • Take up one page, at most two
  • Use bullet points
  • Allocate 2 to 5 bullet points for each job experience
  • Leave white space in between points
  • Use computer-friendly fonts, e.g. Tahoma, Times News Roman, Arial, Lucinda, Calibri

Don’ts

  • List achievements in dense blocks of text
  • Use tables or special outlines (this may confuse Applicant Tracking Systems)
  • Use complicated visuals or designs, unless for a creative job resume
  • Use elaborated fonts or rainbow colors, unless for a creative resume
  • Use headers or footers

2. Experience: Relevant

Do’s

  • List most recent and relevant job experiences first
  • List only experiences that address the job requirements
  • Include your GPA!

Don’ts

  • List events in chronological order. Do you know what chronological resume is?
  • List achievements in your secondary school years (for undergraduates) or high school/ pre-university years (for graduates)

3. Strong

Do’s

  • Include the link to your personal website if possible
  • Quantify achievements (e.g. successfully raised $… in funds, competed against 150 other ideas to receive funding for mass production of prototype)
  • Use strong verbs (e.g. marketed, advertised, created)
  • Show results first, followed by actions (e.g. Successfully saved $5,000 in marketing expense for startup XYZ by streamlining marketing campaigns to eliminate the need for costly paper posters)
  • Describe briefly the companies (size, industry) you worked or interned for

Don’ts

  • Use passive words (e.g. assist, help)
  • Use plain descriptions (e.g. assist with ad-hoc duties)
  • Use third-person voice
  • Provide more than one phone number or email address

4. Uniform

Do’s

Don’ts

  • Use different names for different profiles
  • Use starkly different fonts in the resume

5. Market-specific

Do’s

  • Tailor your resume by using industry-specific words and terminologies (e.g. SEO, social media marketing campaigns)
  • Use similar or related words, e.g. promoted-marketed-advertised

Don’ts

  • Send the same general resume for all job positions
  • Use weak words (e.g. managed an event/campaign/social media account)

6. Ending with the right note

Do’s

  • List some of your personal interests

Don’ts

  • Say “references upon request”

How creative and unique the final result is, is entirely up to you. Of course, do keep in mind the job requirements and the industry you‘re applying for. What’s more, take note that some big companies are using Applicant Tracking Systems, which has transformed the job application and resume writing process in recent years. If you have your eyes on these companies, I would recommend resumes that are leaner and more targeted, as compared to creative or unique.

Ready with your resume? Look for jobs here!
Author: Hong Van Nguyen
Editor: Bryan