No matter how good your resume is, it can always be better. I heard you groan—but it’s true. Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to redo the entire thing. Instead, I’ll just point out a few places where you can improve.
Remember: The stronger your application, the better shot you’re giving yourself at landing the job you want. And that’s what we’re all here for, right?
1. Make it Easier to Skim
It doesn’t matter how beautiful or relevant your resume is if the hiring manager simply can’t find what he or she is looking for. This means priority number one (after getting all your experience down) is to make it readable, and more specifically, skimmable. Here’s a list of 12 pointers for you to go through. However, if you’re pressed for time, at least make sure you’re maximizing the impact of the first five words of each bullet point by including keywords as early as possible.
2. Check to Make Sure It’s Tailored
You may think your resume perfectly describes your skills and experiences all on one tidy sheet of paper, and you’re probably right, but the real trick is for a recruiter who is hiring for a particular position to agree with you. This requires adapting it to a particular job. No matter how flawless it is, it will always benefit from some personalization. Here’s how to check where your resume can use some tailoring.
3. Optimize it for Mobile Viewing
Careers have changed, so it’s no surprised that recruiting’s changed, too. One thing that does seem to catch job candidates off guard though is how often their resume will be viewed on a mobile device. You might have a lovely printed resume, but to ensure it stays lovely even when viewed on a phone, consider implementing some of these tips. If nothing else, move away from a two column resume and stick with one single column. It’ll be easier to navigate for mobile devices and applicant tracking systems.
4. Turn it Into a Website
For those of you who really want to go above and beyond, consider creating a website for your resume. Not only will this help you stand out from other applicants, but you can show off some of your skills with an online portfolio. For some inspiration, check out these 35 amazing examples. Then once you’re pumped to make your own, consider one of these 14 options for how to actually build it out. Just don’t forget to include a link on the version you do send to hiring managers!
With all this said, if you’re one of those people who keeps tinkering with your resume instead of actually networking and applying to jobs, then let me instead direct you here. Because at some point, it’s time to bite the bullet and just click send.
Lily Zhang serves as a Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab where she works with a range of students from AI experts to interaction designers. When she’s not indulging in a new book or video game, she’s thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author