Securing the Bag: 4 Tips to Strengthen Your Resume

About a month ago, I had a tweet about improving your resume go viral. While unexpected, it started a necessary conversation on strategies and tactics applicants can use to strengthen their resume before applying for jobs, leadership positions, and academic/professional programs.

After reviewing colleagues, friends, and clients’ resumes, I noticed they had the necessary skills for a job but it wasn’t showcased properly on their resume.

To assist those currently job hunting, or those who just want to update their resume, I’ve compiled a quick list of tips:

  1. Keep it Concise and Know Your Value

    1. Use the limited space on your resume to showcase what projects you were assigned in succinct sentences. Suggested resume length varies, but generally, the “1-page rule” applies for job seekers. Wanting to list every function of your job is understandable, however, recruiters have limited time to review resumes. Resume descriptions should have 4-6 bullet points that showcase not just what your responsibilities were, but how they improved your work unit and/or organization.

  2. Word Choice

    1. Many organizations use software that filters resumes to save recruiters time. With that, your resume should include action verbs and relevant industry jargon/terminology to improve the likelihood of your resume being noticed.

      • There is a fine line between strengthening your resume and misrepresenting yourself. Be sure that your resume accurately reflects your experience and that you are being honest about your background, skills, and education.

  3. Formatting Matters

      1. The aesthetic of your resume is just as important as the content. Make sure line spacing, fonts, and text size are consistent throughout the document. This not only ensures that each section is given proper attention, but also demonstrates that you pay attention to detail. Templates and formats vary depending on the industry, so research your field before deciding (pictures, color scheme, etc).

  4. Integrate Metrics

      1. Organizations are becoming more data-driven, so where appropriate, integrate metrics in your job descriptions to demonstrate that your contributions are measurable. Job descriptions that include both qualitative and quantitative measures provide recruiters a holistic understanding of your past accomplishments, typical workload, and your ability to meet and/or exceed performance goals.

If you find these tips helpful, or have any recommendations that you think I should consider, please comment below. Let’s keep the conversation going.

~Michael