Was the last time you reworked your resume in the 90's or early 2000's?
The modern job search can be so daunting if you haven't had to look for a new job in over ten years. This is often the case with most management professionals. If your last resume was written prior to 2005, your resume may desperately need to be refreshed for the modern job search.
Keep in mind that the job search process has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Your resume needs to first and foremost get through Applicant Tracking software that most mid-sized to large corporations use to narrow down candidates. Once your resume gets in the hands of a corporate recruiter, HR professional, or hiring manager, it needs to stand out and be memorable.
Your old resume may not make the cut based on looks alone. These quick fixes are easy to implement if your resume is a Word document, and they may make a HUGE impact on your resume's presentation.
1. Update The Font
If you're still using a Microsoft Word default font like Times New Roman or Calibri, you need to update your resume's font. Your font should be easy to read and Applicant Tracking software-friendly, so avoid funky fonts or Google fonts.
Our favorite modern fonts are Century Gothic and MS Trebuchet. For management professionals or more conservative industries, Arial and Book Antiqua are good options. Even a subtle switch from Times New Roman to Book Antiqua makes a BIG difference.
2. Add Some Color
While Applicant Tracking software can't read graphic resumes, you can still add some conservative color to help your resume stand out. Our favorite spots to add color are your name, your resume title, and your section headings.
It may seem silly, but there is validity to color theory. Adding color to your resume can be a great way to show off your personal brand. Are you creative and a bit eccentric? Brighter colors like orange and red can reflect your energetic personality. More conservative? Darker blues reflect loyalty and intelligence. It's not uncommon for sales and management professionals to add greens to their resumes in order to reflect growth.
3. Delete Buzzwords
We will define buzzword as any descriptive word that holds little weight or doesn't have any significant examples from your background to support it. In other words, start deleting those adjectives that really don't add value.
Did you know that the most overused word on LinkedIn profiles for the last three consecutive years is "motivated?" Claiming to be motivated on your resume doesn't really offer any substantial value to an employer who is looking for job-related skills and measurable achievements. Sure, they sound catchy and attention-grabbing but that's about it.
The following buzzwords should be removed from our example:
- Demonstrated (Unnecessary - The rest of your resume should demonstrate your leadership.)
- Strategic, creative thinker and problem solver (Instead, give examples of how you identified and implemented solutions to business problems.)
- Mature, credible (Really? This shouldn't need to be said. As a management professional, this is expected of you not requested of you.)
- Proven (Again, don't say it; show it with specific examples in your resume.)
- Motivated (See above.)
- Strong work ethic (See above, again.)
4. Focus Your Career Summary/Profile
There are two outdated approaches that may be hurting your chances of finding a job quickly: an Objective Statement or a lengthy Summary/Profile section. The top third of your resume should sell your qualifications quickly while presenting the value you offer to an employer. A self-serving Objective Statement doesn't accomplish this. Neither does a long bullet list of short statements.
Create a Branding Statement that highlights your qualifications and areas of expertise in 3-4 sentences exceeding no more than 4-6 lines. Use this space to also identify what unique value you and your background will offer to an organization.
Not sure how to get started? This Branding Statement Cheat Sheet should help!
5. Boost Your Work History
Your Experience section shouldn't just list your work history. This section should briefly describe daily tasks that you performed that are most relevant to your job target. If you're targeting Financial Management jobs, you should focus on your experiences in budget analysis and cost control rather than performance management and training.
Summarize or expand on your job descriptions to fill no more than 4-6 lines of text, and eliminate the phrase "responsible for" from your vocabulary. Use action words like "spearheaded" or "orchestrated" to make your resume more engaging to read.
6. Separate Your Achievements
In this particular example we're using, you can see that the job seeker wrote paragraph-length bullet lists to describe accomplishments. This makes the resume so difficult to scan that recruiters or HR professionals may not even bother to read it.
You will be much more effective in presenting yourself as a results-oriented leader if you separate the achievement from the back-story which you can elaborate on during the interview. Start with measurable accomplishments such as dollars earned or percentages saved before highlighting more subjective achievements.
7. Format Your Sections or Bullets
There are a few adjustments you can quickly and easily make to you resume that will help it stand out in a quick glance. Increasing the font size of your section headings and making your position titles bold are two great ways to make your resume easy to scan. You can also adjust your bullets to modernize your resume's appearance.
8. Use A Thesaurus
Finally, prevent your resume from being a bore to read. Instead of relying on "managed" to describe each of your responsibilities, mix it up with similar words. Some of our favorite action words to use in management resumes include: