Chances are if you wrote out your 2014 resolutions, “cut down,” “trim,” or “shape up” appeared somewhere, in some form or another on your list. Most people apply those words and phrases to bodily health, but they are also great concepts you should be applying to your resume this year! With the high number of resumes hiring managers receive every day, it’s vital to your job search that you shape up your resume so you’ll get more than just a first glance.
Less is usually more, and in the realm of resumes you want less fluff and more differentiating information. As stated in a Forbes article, “Every word—yes, every word—on that page should be working hard to highlight your talents and skills. If it’s not, it shouldn’t be on there.” So, trim the sugar-coating off your resume and consider these tips.
If the average hiring manager looks at a resume for a minute before deciding whether to keep it or discard it, then you want yours to be as pleasing to the eye as possible. While this involves using the proper layout, font, and text size, it also means you need to keep it focused and cut out unnecessary parts. Yahoo Small Business recommends deleting such areas as the career objective, previous salaries, and that famous final line “References available upon request.” The article also pointed out that “a general rule of thumb is to include employment history dating back 10 years. If you have anything relevant to include beyond this, you can list it under “additional experience,” but only include the company, years, and job title.
Your resume should convey the maximum amount of relevant information in the most compact way possible. That means you need to tighten up your language and avoid certain words. “The average resume is chock-full of sorely outdated, essentially meaningless phrases that take up valuable space on the page,” as detailed in the Forbes article. “Eliminate them, and you’ll come off as a better, more substantial candidate.” Some of the top phrases to cut include experienced, team-player, people-person, energetic, seasoned, well-versed, and dynamic.
Even once you’ve done all this cutting out and trimming up of your resume, your work still isn’t finished. Every time you apply for a different job, you need to tweak and sculpt your resume to fit the position and company. Highlighting your skills and experiences that align with what the employer is looking for is how you will stand out from the crowd. You’re not changing your work history or misrepresenting yourself – you’re simply showing how things you’ve done in the past relate to this particular job opportunity.