How to spice up your resume
It’s a new year, time for a new you… and a resume spice up!
When was the last time you rejigged your resume? And a quick revision right before applying for a job doesn’t count! It’s time to look beyond the cover letter and fix your resume mistakes before you actually need to, with our resume tips.
Revise past roles
Time to get typing!
When was the last time you reworded your previous job descriptions? For most of us, this is probably an area that remains largely unchanged because the jobs themselves are exactly that – unchanged. But who’s to say we got it right the first time around?
Take a look at current job listings for similar roles being advertised now. How does their wording compare to yours? Adopt any strong wording used, for example, “mastered skills in…” trumps “confident with…”.
Hot tip #1: Lying about your skill set is only going to get you in hot water once you land a job. What you’re aiming to do is use confident language to demonstrate the skills you already have.
TAKE THE QUIZ
Less is more
Don’t let this happen to your precious resume!
It’s tempting to chuck in all your past work experience to impress potential employers, but much of this elaborate detail reads as clutter. If you’ve had a lot of jobs, you can cull the ones that are no longer relevant to your prospective job’s skills, e.g. that job you had at a pizza shop when you were 15.
If your resume is light on, you can keep the not-so-relevant jobs once they’re spiced up a little. Try eliminating duties and list achievements you’ve made in that role instead. Maybe you were tasked with a groundbreaking project, or surpassed your sales goals. Going above and beyond in your past jobs is always going to be relevant to prospective employers.
Hot tip #2: Employers want to see the ways you’ve gone above and beyond in all areas. Make a point of any achievements you’ve made in previous jobs – awards you’ve won, goals you’ve surpassed etc.
Hot tip #3: You could even include extracurricular achievements to demonstrate your interests outside of work. This gives a bit of an insight into who you are as a person, and shows that you’re active and achieving beyond the 9-5 requirement. List these towards the end of your resume as an added bonus.
“There’s more to a candidate than previous employment. The ‘interests’ part of a resume can reveal far more. President of a club at uni shows me good leadership skills. Winning a hackathon shows me fast, creative problem solving.” – Karen Taylor-Brown, CEO of Refraction Media.
Formatting is key
Nobody wants to read something dense and messy – especially not when you’ve got hundreds of pages of resumes to sift through.
– Use bullet points
– Eliminate passive voice, e.g. ‘responsible for’ becomes ‘managed’
– Eliminate ‘stop’ words, e.g. “the, a, an, and”. There should be as few filler words as possible.
– Highlight important details, e.g. name of employer, previous job title.
To get a fresh perspective, search for some examples of well formatted resumes online, or ask a friend with a great job to see theirs.
Hot tip #4: ‘Well-formatted’ doesn’t mean fancy schmancy. A clean, easy-to-read resume will be a treat for the eyes of a recruiter. Avoid overly colourful or creative resumes as a general rule.
GIFs via Giphy
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.