10 Two-Minute Hacks To Improve Your Resume

Happy 2018! Yes, a new year has dawned, and with it, another long list of self-improvement strategies and ways to better yourself. But, let’s be honest, for every resolution you stick tight on a couple fall dismally by the wayside.

To ensure you tick at least one box, and come out of this year better than you started it, we’ve pulled together a list of ten quick hacks to improve your resume. This critical career document needs constant attention, manipulation and care to ensure it shows that you are the most suitable candidate for the role you’re applying for.

So what are you waiting for? Use these hacks to improve your resume now.

#1 Remove Your Photo

Unless you’re applying for a modelling or acting contract, how you look shouldn’t (and legally can’t) play a role in an employers’ choice to hire you. In fact, it could entangle them in ugly and undesirable claims of discrimination later down the track. Photo? More like no-no.

#2 Name And Contact Details On Every Page

Perhaps the simplest part of putting together a resume, but overlooked by many candidates as they get occupied in detailing their skills and work experience. Ensure that all the great information you’re sharing about your career is attributed to you, and chuck your details on the top of every page. More importantly, if the pages — god forbid — ever get separated, they can easily be pieced back together. While you’re there, be sure to number every page too.

#3 Please, No Hobbies

While employers want to know who you are and if you’re a suitable cultural fit for their organisation, the fact that you love to knit or play ultimate Frisbee probably won’t get you across the line. Space is precious on your resume; don’t waste any of it telling prospective employers how you love to dance the tango.

#4 Key Information To The Top

It’s estimated that employers spend an average of six seconds scanning resumes they receive. That’s nothing. You could sneeze for longer. But assuming there’s truth in it, give yourself the best chance for success and surface all key information to the top of your resume. That means contact details, key skills and the most recent and relevant roles should sit within the first half of page one.

#5 Eliminate Buzzwords And Jargon

Terms like “synergy” and “blue-sky thinking” are not only overused in the working world, they’re also meaningless. Fill your resume with words that have genuine purpose, are easy to understand and aren’t total resume clichés.

#6 Keep The Font Simple

Nothing fancy, curly or arcane. Try something simple and widely known, so it’s legible regardless of the device or operating system it’s read on. Something like Arial or Helvetica size 12 should do the trick.

#7 Make It Shorter

Where possible, remove unnecessary information and details. If you can combine a few similar experiences into one section or paragraph, do it. The function of a resume is to land you an interview, not to tell a prospective employer your life story. Make it interesting and relevant; don’t make employers read War and Peace. Aim for no more than two pages.

#8 Bullet Those Points

Avoid big slabs of text and use bullet points to highlight key achievements or major career accomplishments. It’ll be easier for employers to read and it’ll shorten the length of your resume overall. Everyone’s a winner.

#9 Strike Out Irrelevant Accomplishments

If you’re going for a job as a marketing coordinator, then your time spent managing a bar shouldn’t appear on your resume. Similarly, if you’re an aspiring engineer, employers won’t care that you worked selling gym memberships. And no matter what job you’re applying for, the fact that you were water polo captain, leader of the school drama collective, or student of the week should definitely be wiped out.

#10 Check Spelling and Grammar

Always, always conduct multiple spelling and grammar checks. This doesn’t mean just running an automated spell check through Word, it means reading it out loud or asking a friend to review it. Try reading it from top to bottom and back up again to ensure there aren’t clumsy mistakes or things you’ve missed. You want your next manager to know that you’re a top editor with excellent grammar, not ahem, ‘grammer’, for example.

With these simple hacks to improve your resume, you’re well on your way to landing yourself that sweet new job you’ve been aching for.

Izzy Tolhurst is a copywriter and editor. She writes about music, the arts, employment and international development. She also sings and plays an impressively amateur level of guitar in Melbourne band Go Get Mum. Find her rambling on Twitter @izzytolhurst