Do you grin hysterically every time someone asks for your resume? Are you stuck with a lame layout that screams for vengeance? In this article, you can find 7 useful resume tips to enhance the look, feel, and impact of your work history. You can use it as a checklist for a total makeover or tackle each task separately, in manageable time chunks.
Back to the basics: your resume must be focused, truthful and relevant. If your document is outdated or patched, a thoughtful review is in order. Make sure your resume contents align with your current role and the needs of your target audience. So: invest 30 minutes in a general review – save tons later.
Create a letterhead (5-10 minutes)
With a letterhead, your name and contact details stand out on the page; also, the graphic element enhances the overall look of your document. To maximise the impact, include your logo and professional headline. Use on-brand fonts and colours to match existing marketing materials. Need some inspiration? This collection of 400+ free templates (.doc) is just for you!
Increase font size (2 minutes)
A smaller font size helps you squeeze more info in your résumé. But it also makes your document harder to read, and unattractive. Increasing the font size is a self-discipline hack. It will force you to be more selective – which translates to enhanced readability, clarity, and focus.
Craft an eye-catching introduction (30 minutes)
Freelancers hunt for customers, not employers. That’s why your resume should be the opening act of a conversation with the prospect. And a few introductory words can help show your personality, thus boosting the conversational effect. Focus on writing 2-3 strong paragraphs that summarise your skills and “reason why”. First person, singular. Avoid bulleted lists.
Strive for conciseness (up to 1 hour)
Résumés are often loaded with clichés and trite wording. That makes them sound sloppy, boring and undifferentiated. Eliminate fillers and redundancies to highlight what’s important – your talents, and how your work helps customers achieve their goals.
Revise one resume section at a time (10 minutes)
Focusing on each resume section as a stand-alone item will help you identify potential weaknesses and room for improvement. As you go through a section, consider: any chances of rephrasing elements for increased clarity or impact? Could you add examples / supporting info to highlight the experience? Have you listed all the skills and info that matter here?
Tweak the layout (20 minutes)
A custom layout can make your resume pop – and show your personality as a bonus. Explore layout options to create something different. You can e.g.
- turn a list into a paragraph, to boost the conversational effect;
- add graphic elements to section titles, for easier orientation;
- highlight key terms and ideas with a brand colour, to grasp attention.
Make it shine, with a pinch of salt. Graphic elements should not outshine your copy.
Use numbers and real-life examples (15 minutes)
Numbers stand out from the sea of words, and support your claims with tangible information. Using facts and figures makes your resume copy more relevant for your prospects, and provides them with a well-rounded overview of your background.