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How to make your resume 'pop'

Are you dusting off your old resume?

A few friends were recently asking me for advice on how to 'clean up' their old resumes, they hadn't needed to apply for anything in 5-7 years, but some new opportunities came up.

Every job is different, but ultimately everyone is looking for that 'fit' - right person, right time, right place. Resumes can be a bit of a data-dump, but what if they just told a story, about you, in just a single page, proving you're the perfect fit?

It would take some research, but most companies give hints at what they are really looking for. The keywords are all in the job description or the "about us" portion on their website. So the more we speak to those, and mirror the tone of the J.D. (sometimes the cover letter does this job better), the closer we get to being "the one".

Some additional key tips:

  1. One singular font (hey, you'll be surprised how often this gets missed)

  2. 12 point font (not bigger or smaller)

  3. Put your contact info in the header or footer (not both)

  4. Keep experience to last 10 years, can add a note - "additional work experience available upon request"

  5. Common problem, what about gaps in resumes? If its under 6 months, no problem. More than that, be honest but show you were "learning and growing" with certifications, going back to school, internships, volunteering and more.

  6. Don't mess with margins or spacing (if the recruiter prints your resume it can be terrible)

  7. PDF ONLY. Maintain formatting just as you envisioned it.

  8. Don't overdo bold/italics. Save it for headers/sub headers

  9. Action words aplenty - "Reduced budget", "Lead project with impact".

  10. Some numbers (not too many) to show you bring in the money (or save lots of it)

  11. Managed people? Mention it. If it's a big team, mention how many.

  12. Key Sections - summary at the top, positions, skills. That's it.

Avoid the simple mistakes and tell a good story about yourself.

And before you know it, that 'clicking' sound you hear is your new opportunity.


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