resume on a computer monitor

Sprucing Up Your Resume

By Nicole Martin


Spring isn’t just the season to clean out closets or spruce up the yard. It’s also the perfect time to freshen up your resume. You never know when that dream job may open up or a recruiter will call, so it’s important to have your resume ready to go!

5 Resume Spring Cleaning Tips

Update Your Opening

If your resume starts off with an objective, it’s time to toss it and replace it with a summary. This prime resume real estate is your quick sales pitch. In 3-5 sentences, highlight your qualifications, relevant accomplishments, skills, and the value you can bring to the position. Make your summary compelling so that the recruiter wants to read on and find out more about you. You will need to tailor your summary to the position for which you are applying, but this update will give you a head start. If you already have a summary on your resume, add any new achievements or skills you have acquired since the previous draft and delete outdated information.

Showcase Accomplishments

Recruiters love to see accomplishments because they demonstrate exactly how you add value. Go through your previous positions in your work experience section and call attention to each achievement using bullets. Then, think about what you have accomplished to date in your current position.  Did you receive any awards? Streamline a process? Increase sales? Add these accomplishments to your resume, including metrics when possible.

Highlight Current Skills

The right skills are a key selling feature. They not only let recruiters know what you do, they can also help you get past the bots if an organization uses applicant tracking software (ATS). Read through the job descriptions of positions you are interested in, noting the skills required. List the skills that you have, in order of priority based on how they are listed in the descriptions. Then, think about the skills the employer is looking for that you don’t have and consider bolstering your resume by investing in learning them.

Clean Up the Copy

Now take a hard look at the way you have written your resume. Replace any overused business jargon and buzzwords or internal company lingo with clear, plain language that anyone would understand. Of course you will probably need to include industry-specific terms, and those you can keep. I’m talking about removing vague, generic terms that don’t really express your qualifications like people-person, hardworking, buy-in, core competency, ecosystem, dynamic, and synergy. Your copy should focus on action verbs like coordinated, created, developed, established, achieved, improved, increased/decreased, resolved, trained, delivered, etc. The goal is to make your resume readable, relevant, and interesting so that you land an interview.

Freshen Up Your Formatting

Make sure your resume is ATS friendly or you’ll never get past the bots. Choose a clean font like Calibri or Ariel. Try to have a one-inch margin all around for easy reading, and avoid going overboard with bold, italics, and underline; only use them where you really want to call attention to something. Remember that a simply formatted resume is optimal.

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