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6 Steps to Improving Your Resume

6 Steps to Improving Your Resume

Is your resume becoming bloated or outdated? A concise and up to date resume can give you an edge over other candidates. Remember that keeping your resume up to date is essential even when you’re not actively searching—you never know when you’ll get a call from a potential employer or recruiter.

Follow these six steps to spruce up your resume:

1. Focus on recent experience 
Employers reading your resume are most interested in your recent experience. Look back at the earliest listed positions on your resume—are they still relevant to the position you are applying for now? You may choose to delete some positions entirely, or you may want to simply shorten the job description. Consider replacing a long list of job duties and responsibilities with a short paragraph description.

2. Don’t be afraid to expand you resume’s page length 
With less relevant job experience cut from your resume, you can expand on more recent job experience. Though employers once followed the “Golden One Page Resume Rule,” two to three page resumes are often preferred for higher-level executives. Think about whether you’ve recently taken on new responsibilities at work, attended a conference or workshop, or spoken at an event. Relevant and recent developments should be added to your resume.

3. Add new skills you’ve learned—especially technological skills 
When updating your resume, make sure to include new skills you may have picked up. Listing technological skills will particularly give you an advantage—and remember not to forget experience with blogging or social media. Additionally, removing references to old technologies from your resume is as important as adding references to new ones.

4. Avoid overused adjectives
Beware of overused adjectives such as “innovative,” “detail-oriented,” or “entrepreneurial.” Since so many candidates use these same words to describe themselves, they’ve lost their impact. Instead of focusing on adjectives, use “buzzwords” and quantifiable information as discussed in the steps below.

5. Use “buzzwords” 
These days employers are using search engines to find candidates, and they’re searching for “buzzwords.” When applicable, include certifications, computer programs, professional acronyms, and technical terms, to increase the likelihood your resume will be found in an online search or in-house database.

6. Add quantifiable information 
Make sure to keep track of your accomplishments in quantifiable terms even while you are employed – for example, how much money did you save your company as CFO in the last fiscal year? Adding these figures to your accomplishments immediately gives potential employers the information they really want. Instead of simply stating that you are “goal-oriented” or “innovative” (see #4,) these numbers will concisely demonstrate how you went above and beyond expectations.

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