How to Streamline Your Resume and Make It Stand Out

 

By Dan Scalco

Your resume is essentially your first impression to an employer. It’s your chance to show off your skills, your education, and all the experience you have that makes you the perfect fit for a job. However, many mistakenly think it’s acceptable to just list all of that essential information in a document and call it a resume. To be honest, that’s not the best move! You need to consider the structure of your resume to make sure you draw attention to what’s most important, make it easy to read, and more. To help you out, I’m sharing a few tips on how to streamline your resume…

Include your contact information first.
The whole point of your resume is to show off your awesome skills and to then get an employer to give you a call for an interview. Well, how can they call you if they’re searching your resume, struggling to find your contact information? Instead, you should make it very easy for them see. Present your name and contact information right at the top of the page.

When adding your contact information, include your first and last name, address, phone number, and your email address. If you have a website, you can include that as well if it’s relevant to your skills and the job you’re applying for. You might want to skip showing off a website that isn’t top-notch or is totally unrelated to the work you’re aspiring to do. This could do more harm than good, so only include a URL to a great website you’re proud to show off.

Write a succinct opening summary.
If you really want to grab attention with your resume, you should include an opening summary. This is the preferred option to a career objective. Use this as an opportunity show off why you are the most qualified person for the job you’re applying for. Share one or two achievements and your most recent experience in this section. Be sure that you don’t ramble on. Keep it succinct instead because you don’t have long to grab their attention and keep it.

When you consider that employers are receiving so many applicants for each open position, you want to make sure your resume stands out from the rest. And you want to keep in mind that they won’t always take the time to read the entire thing. An opening summary on your resume is the best way to showcase your top qualifications and to entice them to keep reading.

Don’t list every job you’ve ever held.
Many people make the mistake of listing every single job they’ve ever held on their resume. While it may seem like a good idea because you’re showing off your diverse experience, the reality is that employers only want to see relevant experience.

Instead, you want to streamline your resume by cutting out the outdated stuff when it comes to your work experience. There’s no need to go back any further than 15 years because that’s often overkill and it’s likely it won’t be needed. All you need to do is to focus on your most recent work experience that is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Showcase the skills you used on the job and put the most emphasis on the skills that would also come in handy for this job you’re trying to land. This is also the opportunity to share any accomplishments you had at each job, as opposed to writing a generic job description that’s likely to be overlooked.

Photo Credit: Andrew White
Photo Credit: Andrew White

Share your educational background.
If you have a college degree, you will want to show that off on your resume, of course. Many employers like to see what kind of education you’ve received and it sometimes makes or break whether or not you get the job.

One thing to keep in mind when creating this section is that you don’t have to go into the specifics. All you need to include was the school you attended, the years you attended, and what kind of degree you received. This helps you save space and keep the resume streamlined.

What if you’re fresh out of college without any work experience? If this is the case, feel free to elaborate on your college education. Share any classes or coursework you have done that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, plus any internships or leadership positions you’ve held. This will help to bulk up your resume until you get more “in the field” work experience.

Cater your resume to the job.
It may sound tedious, but you should always cater your resume to the job you’re applying for. Each job obviously has certain qualifications they’re looking for in their candidates. If you have the skills, work experience, or education they’re looking for, you’ll want to craft your resume in a way that draws attention to that.

Keep in mind that employers likely won’t read your resume thoroughly. They’re going to skim, looking through the document for specific information. This is all the more reason to highlight what will look particularly impressive to them.

Format your resume for readability.
As mentioned above, anyone who views your resume will likely skim through the information you’ve provided, as opposed to reading it in full. That’s why it’s so important to streamline your resume and focus on what’s most important, as opposed to rambling on by listing every work experience detail.

In addition to cutting the fluff from your resume, you’ll also want to consider ways you can increase its readability. Here are some tips…

  1. Use clear headings to separate each section of your resume. You can also make them bold to draw the eye to those headlines. This makes it much easier for an employer to find what they’re look for and keeps the resume organized.
  2. Use bullet points for lists and italicizing when appropriate. It may seem simple, but these tweaks help to break up large chunks of text, which can often appear overwhelming to read.
  3. Try to keep everything the same font. This makes it easier for the readers eyes to bounce around the page. If you need to make any text a different size, make it your name and contact information.

Wrapping up.
Now that you know how to streamline your resume for maximum results, you can start making changes. With these easy adjustments, your resume is sure to stand out from the crowd and get you those coveted calls for interviews.

Think you’re a resume pro? Showcase your skills by volunteering at our offices and helping our women improve their resumes. 

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