When you’re creating a resume, it’s easy to get stuck in the same old format. If you’re still using that template from Microsoft Word 2007, it might be time for an update.
It’s not only the resume design that matters but also the quality of the text! In fact, each element of your resume reflects something about you as a professional. With that in mind, below are six ways from various experts how to modernize an old resume.
[Related: “I Went On More Than 100 Job Interviews In 8 Months—Here’s What I Learned”]
1. Tell a story.
In order to capture and maintain a hiring manager’s attention, your resume should be clear, concise, and tell a professional story. “If, after reading your own resume, you are in the mood for a nap… you’ve done something wrong,” says Jill Jacinto, a Millennial career expert for WORKS. “A great resume inspires and energizes the reader. Make your words jump off the page! The best way to do this is to tell a story. Don’t say, ‘I’m a creative director.’ Instead, highlight a project or presentation where your creative skills were put to the test, and [you] succeeded.” Success stories are the best kind, after all.
[Related: Tips From a Recruiter: Optimize Your Resume]
2. Incorporate keywords found in job postings.
“Have you ever realized that the job description is actually a map key to your resume?” Jacinto says. “It’s giving you clues in terms of words and phrases for what the hiring manager is looking for. Make sure to speak the same language and highlight the same examples they will be looking for.” So if you see “The candidate should be familiar with Excel” in a job posting, for instance, then make sure to include the course you took on Excel in your resume.
3. Get organized and de-clutter your life by getting rid of the stuff you don’t need.
FYI: You probably have a lot of crap on your resume that doesn’t actually add to your overall image (plus, employers will likely skip over the fluffy stuff, anyway!). “It’s important that hiring managers know how you’re spending your time at work, but they don’t need to know about the 40 percent of your job that you don’t want to be branded by,” says Ashley Stahl, a career and business coach for Millennials. “For example, if you’re filing almost half of the time yet applying for a job that demands a significantly increased amount of responsibility, really focus on the work you do that requires more from you. Do your future self a favor and focus on the accomplishments you’re proud of. Pick from that file of your career experience wisely when drafting your bullets.”
The founder of CreateYourCareerPath.com and career coach, Hallie Crawford, believe that less is more. “Try not to be too lengthy—remember, you have less than five seconds to make an impact, so to the point is best,” Crawford says. Pack the punch succinctly!
4. Your resume should be organized into distinct categories.
Jenn DeWall, a career and life coach for female professionals, has a creative way to manually lay out your résumé so it is guaranteed to stand out. “Instead of starting with a resume template, create a running list of all of your accomplishments,” DeWall says. “Write down specific experiences/work assignments, responsibilities, and above-and-beyond work you have done within your role. Once the list is completed, break it out into career-related categories, like leadership, project management, negotiation, etc. The topics will vary depending on the field, but try to categorize it by the topics that are desired and sought after within your field. Be sure to list your experiences in a descending order from most relevant skill sets that the company is looking for to least relevant.”
Matching your skills to the right job is easier said than done, but if you have a well-organized list of all your abilities, it’s much simpler to customize your résumé for specific professions. DeWall argues that this will save you time and energy in the long run. It is essential to adjust your résumé for each job you apply to, as different employers are interested in various skills and qualities.
5. Language can be extremely powerful, especially when it comes to persuasion.
Good writing is key to a resume that stands out. “Start your sentences with active verbs,” Crawford says. “Remove all first-case pronouns—your resume should be written in first-case implied. Include measurable results where possible. Watch for run-on sentences. Be direct.”
6. Always consider the big picture.
Overall, what have you achieved? “When considering your resume verbiage, think big picture—you want the employer to see how well you can manage and operate at a high level,” DeWall says. “High level and big-picture thinkers are typically the individuals who excel to the leadership positions, because they don’t get caught up in the details of any given situation or project. Show them in your resume how you can see the relevance between what your responsibilities are and how it benefited the company at a total level.” To attract hiring managers, list the most significant ways you contributed to your former employers, as that is what they are looking for.
DeWall says that instead of saying “I developed teams and partnerships,” for example, try “I facilitated the collaboration of cross-functional teams to ensure projects were on time and of optimal quality, which improved our bottom line results.” Thank you very much.
This article was originally published on POPSUGAR.