When facing a job search, one of the most daunting parts is updating your resume. And, if it’s been a while since you’ve dusted your resume off, it can be challenging to know where to start. Since we have reviewed thousands of resumes over the years we wanted to share our advice to help the many people who have been laid off or who fear layoffs during this uncertain time. 

We commonly see the same mistakes in resumes being made over and over. We know HR Managers and recruiters are regularly seeing these mistakes too. In some cases, these mistakes can cost you the chance to interview. When the job opportunities are scarce and competition is high, you can’t afford mistakes like these. 

  1. Grammar

We all know grammar is important, and for many, grammar might not be your strength. So take care to double and triple check  your resume. Read it out loud to yourself. Ask someone else to review it. Don’t be afraid to get another person to read it over as well. Sometimes, a different perspective can bring to light a grammatical error (or another error) that was previously overlooked.

  1. Contact Information

Location (City, State), phone and email should be easy to find. Your LinkedIn profile and portfolio site (if you have one) should also be included and easily found, if relevant. They give you credibility and further highlight your abilities. It also makes it easy for a company to contact you to schedule an interview.

  1. Brag

This is no time to be humble. Employers want to know you can get results. Show it, demonstrate it and make sure they know what you can do for them. Use metrics, accomplishments, awards or recommendations to show it. Get creative!

  1. Story

Your resume should tell a story. It should show career progression and/or professional improvement. If you aren’t growing, you aren’t learning and you’re becoming stagnant in your career. Every HR Manager, hiring manager and/or recruiter wants to see that you are continually learning because that will help their business move forward.

  1. Clarity

Be clear. Be direct. Share only information that is relevant and shows your experience and skills to do the job. This makes it easy for HR, hiring managers and/or recruiters to see why they would want to speak with you. This is also an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to communicate. Don’t leave any room for questions.

  1. Consistency

Information shared in your resume should match the information on your LinkedIn profile. Dates should match, job titles should match, etc. You don’t want the accuracy or the truthfulness of your resume to be questioned.

  1. Customize

Resumes should be customized for each job to which you apply. Pay close attention to the keywords or “buzz” words that are associated with the skills and experiences they are seeking. Make sure you include the areas where you have the same skills and experience and use those same keywords to describe them in your resume.

  1. Format

Think user experience. A well-thought out format provides for a great user experience making it easier for the reader to understand your experience and find the information they are seeking quickly and easily. Think about including additional content areas such as skills, experiences, areas of expertise, clients, or industries.

  1. Color

Color should be used sparingly on a resume. Color can be used to provide visual appeal or to highlight certain sections of your resume. It shouldn’t overwhelm the reader. If you are a designer, you can use a portfolio site to show your true creative abilities. 

  1. Text

All resumes should be text based and use common serif (Times New Roman, Georgia, Garamond, etc.) and sans serif fonts (Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic, etc.). If your resume is not text based, recruiting systems, also known as ATS or applicant tracking systems, cannot “read” the resumes and properly put them in their systems. It can prevent HR Managers or hiring managers from easily finding you in their system. 

Use this as a checklist to update your resume and get it ready for primetime! Do you have any other big mistakes you would add to the list? 

If you have any questions or anything to add, please feel free to contact us and we can help. Good luck!