How to Make a Resume Relevant

For most people one of the most difficult things to do is talk about themselves. How do I express my achievements? What work experience is relevant? How do I tailor my resume to a specific job? Here are several best practices:

  1. Always tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Tailoring your resume isn’t just throwing in a bunch of keywords or industry terminology, rather its tweaking your work experience and achievements to highlight industry/position specific experience. Additionally, if you are posting your resume online, make sure it’s tailored to the type of industry and role, not the company.
  2. Write your resume for the position you want, not the positions you’ve had. Typically, those newer into their careers have the most difficulty with this and the advice I give them is to draw from specific pieces from previous roles and cater it towards the role you want. If are going for a help desk position and you worked at McDonald’s in high school, the first bullet point from that position should talk about customer service and customer satisfaction - the reason for this is because the skills you used in the one position can be translated to another.
  3. The accomplishments that you provided that had the most impact should be listed first and then go in descending order. Notice I specify the accomplishments that YOU provided (not your team). If you worked in part of a team, note that on your resume and discuss what specific role you played towards accomplishing the project or goal.
  4. Use the “3 C’s”. They are: Clean, Consistent, and Concise.
    1. Clean: the formatting looks good and the resume has a clean appearance
    2. Consistent: verb tenses are the same throughout, bullet points all start in the same tense, formatting is consistent (indentations, periods, bolding, etc.
    3. Concise: keep it as short as possible. One of my college professors always said that its easier to say what you want to in 10,000 words than it is in 500. Do the work to get your point across in as few words as possible. No matter how much experience you have, the resume should be no more than 2 pages in length. If you are having trouble getting it below that, please reach out to us and we can see if we can help shorten it.
  5. Objectives headings are unnecessary. Everyone who looks at your resume understands the objective is to get a job. Instead of including an objective section, put a summary in and keep it a quick career overview (3-4 sentences).
  6. Always include keywords. Recruiters, hiring managers, and applicant tracking systems use keywords words to identify candidates, and search for roles. This goes back to tailoring your resume. Make sure you are including industry/position specific keywords.
  7. Information you want to put in your resume. Focus on your career highlights, projects, management, methodology, and industry specific technologies. Your daily activities that are implied in the title are not as important.