**This is an updated post**
When was the last time you updated your resume?
If you’re applying for a new job for the first time in a few years, are returning to the workforce after a long break, or entering the workforce for the first time, then you might be looking for a little help on how to write an eye-catching resume.
As technology continues to change, so too have the ways prospective employees’ resumes are presented and delivered. It’s increasingly rare to have a hard-copy resume delivered by hand these days, which means most companies receive dozens, if not hundreds of digital resumes in response to a single job ad.
This is the challenge job seekers face – making their resume stand out from the crowd.
The good news is there are simple and easy ways you can update your resume without resorting to creating a multimedia extravaganza.
Expert resume tips to creating a sleek, modern resume
1. Refine the design
According to career coach Kylie Butler from Inspired Careers, visuals matter. A lot. Daggy fonts like Times New Roman are out and the more streamlined Calibri is in. And don’t even think of trying to be edgy by using something like Gigi or Chiller.
“A font should be simple and not too decorative,” Butler explains.
She also recommends getting your CV professionally formatted by a Graphic Designer. “Using a site like fiverr means this can be done really cheaply, for as little as $10."
2. Avoid cliched or negative language
Employers don't have time to read between the lines or be subjected to predictable stereotypes. Avoid adding fluff to your resume or using predictable words like, innovative, expert, responsible, wheelhouse, extensive experience, creative, motivated, and driven.
Instead, make your skills stand out by using more proactive and simple terms then back up experience with examples, figures and statistics.
It is also important to always use positive language over negative language.
In addition, your resume should feature language that is as formal in language as your industry requires. Kylie Butler says it’s OK to be more colloquial or crafty with a creative or a social media CV; but conservative industries like legal require more options.
And of course, spell check, spell check, spell check. Sending off a resume with incorrect spelling or grammar is one way to ensure you won’t be getting a callback.
3. Provide social media links
Having a professional LinkedIn page is a must, but if you also have a career-friendly blog or Facebook page that is relevant to the job you're applying for, then you should include all of them in your CV. This provides your employer with extra collateral that can showcase your profile, especially in creative industries.
However, a link to your personal accounts is not recommended, so ensure your privacy settings are set to high at the commencement of any job search to avoid any inappropriate memories making their way to your dream employer’s desktop.
4. Explain career gaps
If you have taken off 6 months to complete your MBA, had a baby or traveled South America, do mention it in writing. A simple line will do.
But what if you’ve been made redundant? Should you include being made redundant on your resume or CV? This can be a tricky one to answer, as many experts seem to disagree on whether or not this information should be added.
Some people argue that it’s good to include some (very brief) information about your redundancy as this is the kind of detail that will come up in the interview anyway; while others say that redundancy is quite often not the fault of the employee, but the company, and therefore is not a reflection on the employee’s skills and value.
Whether or not you include this information on your resume or CV is entirely up to you. Just remember that if you do mention it, keep it simple and factual.
5. Don’t worry about including references… yet
Employers should not be contacting your contacts until the very last phase of the interview process and not without your written consent. This way you can save space by leaving these details out of your CV during the initial job hunt phases.
6. Include a strong career summary
Summary statement, personal summary or professional profile: whatever you call it, these words all mean the same thing. This is a solid overview paragraph that highlights your skills and focus, sets the tone for the rest of your information and is your chance to shine.
A good career coach or career mentor can help you finesse this positioning statement. For the rest of your CV, use as many facts, figures and inclusions of key influencers and accounts to give your track record gravitas. As Butler says, unless that information is confidential, you should be as detailed as possible to show your recruiter who you’ve worked with and what exactly you’re capable of.
A standout CV doesn’t need a demolition so much as a facelift
While searching for a new job can be challenging and tiring, knowing that you’re putting energy into making positive changes in your life can be hugely rewarding – not to mention that elated feeling you’ll have when you land your dream job!
If you modernise the appearance of your resume with some sharper formatting and lead with the most important information first, in as factual a way as possible, then your results will speak for themselves.
Then, all you need to do is ace the interview!
Want tips on how to become a better communicator on paper and in person? Enrol in our short online Professional Communications course today.