Now that we are done with Telling Your Story and Formatting Your Resume, we move on to..
13. Keep it Recent, Keep it Relevant
As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. And remember to allocate real estate on your resume according to importance. If there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter (unless a previous job was more relevant to the one you’re applying to).
14. No Relevant Experience? No Worries!
Don’t panic if you don’t have any experience that fits the bill. Instead, focus your resume on your relevant and transferrable skills along with any related side or academic projects, and then make sure to pair it with a strong cover letter telling the narrative of why you’re ideal for the job.
15. Curate Your Bullet Points
No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than five or six bullets in a given section. No matter how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them. Write one-line and impressive bullet points.
16. Bring it Down a Level
You may be tempted to throw in tons of industry jargon so you sound like you know what you’re talking about, but ultimately you want your resume to be understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them.
17. Give ’Em the Numbers
Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve them.
18. Take it One Step Further
People hire performers, so you want to show that you didn’t just do stuff, but that you got stuff done! As you look at your bullet points, think about how you can take each statement one step further and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you. Turn your duties into accomplishments !
19. Show—Don’t Tell—Your Soft Skills
Describing soft skills on a resume often starts to sound like a list of meaningless buzzwords, fast. But being a “strong leader” or an “effective communicator” are important characteristics you want to get across. Think about how you can demonstrate these attributes in your bullet points without actually saying them.
20. Don’t Neglect Non-Traditional Work
There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, were hired as a temporary or contract worker, freelanced, or blogged? Absolutely list these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.
21. Mix Up Your Word Use
If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly. Use better verbs to mix!
22. Use Keywords
Use keywords in your resume: Scan the job description, see what words are used most often, and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points. Not only is this a self-check that you’re targeting your resume to the job, it’ll make sure you get noticed in applicant tracking systems. Stuck on which words to include? Try a tool (like SEO - keyword search) which will analyze and spit out the most used keywords.
23. Avoid Empty Words
What words shouldn’t you include? Detail-oriented, team player, and hard worker—among other vague terms that recruiters say are chronologically used. We bet there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are.