If you’re not actively searching for a new gig, updating your resume can seem like just another pointless task to add to your never-ending to-do list. But even if you aren’t pounding the pavement for a new job, there are actually quite a few perks that come with jazzing up your resume. Not only will it help you better quantify your achievements and equip yourself with more ammo when asking for a well-deserved raise, but having an updated and stylish resume could even help give you the courage to apply for that seemingly out-of-reach dream job that pops up when you’re randomly checking LinkedIn. In order to make life easier for busy gals everywhere, we tapped some resume experts to give us the deets on nine easy ways to restyle your CV in under 10 minutes.
1. Include your LinkedIn URL. If you’re looking for an easy way to update your resume, Allison Tatios at Elevated Resumes suggests adding your LinkedIn URL to your contact information. Format it with the actual link (e.g., linkedin.com/in/allisontatios/) and “if applicable, add links to your other social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or a personal blog.” Hey, you’ll never know what can happen when you save the hiring manager a Google search! Just be sure to clean up your social media accounts before you add them to your CV.
2. Add some color to your name. Adding color is a great way to make your resume pop, but make sure you don’t go overboard. Instead of displaying the entire rainbow across your bullet points, career coach and Skillumé owner Marina Vorobyev suggests simply adding some color to your bolded name. “Stay away from colors that don’t look good printed out,” she warns. “Don’t forget that a LOT of HR departments, hiring managers, and recruiters are still printing out the documents you are sending them.”
3. Consider adding your picture. “This is a big discussion in the industry right now,” Vorobyev notes. “However, I personally believe that putting your picture on your resume will help the hiring manager or the resume reviewer connect with you on a psychological level. With the world of Linkedin and other professional social media websites, your photo is already out there, and I believe it’s great to save people a step. Having the same picture on a resume and on a professional social networking website also promotes the understanding of personal branding.” Of course, she also makes it clear that this mostly works for creative, sales, or administrative jobs… and reinforces including absolutely no selfies. Period.
4. Remove your objective or statement of purpose. If you’re looking for an easy thing to nix from your CV, you may want to consider giving your objective the ax, “since in nine out of 10 cases these are horribly written, or redundant, or simply pointless, and they arrest the reader’s attention, and you can never quite get it back,” explains success strategist Carlota Zimmerman. “A well-written resume in of itself is a statement of purpose, giving the right reader the answers they are looking for. If you have to write an objective on your resume, I already know you’re doing it wrong.”
5. Choose a simple yet unpopular font. “Changing from a sans serif (like Century Gothic) to a serif (like Garamond) and vice versa can instantly give your resume a new look,” advises ACA Talent Marketing Manager Sabrina N. Balmick. “To stand out, go for an unusual font that’s still legible: Your resume won’t look like everyone else’s, and it’ll have a fresh, modern feel. You can also experiment with using a couple of different fonts on your resume. For example, a serif font for headlines and a sans serif for the body.”
6. Use relevant keywords. “In this era of technology, the first filter your resume must get through is a digital one,” shares Nick Murphy, Founder and CEO of Mid-America Careers. “Resume databases and applicant tracking systems will search for keyword matches between your resume and the job description you’ve applied to. There are many ways that companies and their systems do this, all with varying degrees of sophistication. The key point for you to know is that you must leverage the keywords that you see popping up in the jobs you are applying to. If you are in sales, for example, using terms like quota, enterprise sales, territory, book of business, net new revenue, Presidents Club, etc. will help your resume pass through the basic technological filters and get a hiring manger’s or recruiter’s eyes on your resume.”
7. Quantify your impact (AKA use and abuse numbers). “Too few job seekers quantify and promote the difference that they’ve made in their previous roles,” notes Murphy. “Being ‘tasked with new business growth’ isn’t as compelling as ‘exceeded $1 million annual quota by growing territory 206 percent,’ is it? Quantifying what you’ve done allows a hiring manager to envision what you could do at their organization. Failing to do this is selling yourself short and allowing a huge opportunity to slip through your fingers.”
8. Switch weak verbs for strong ones. Even if you only have five minutes, swapping out a few common and boring verbs for better ones will *definitely* help your CV stand out from the stack. “Your CV is not just a dispassionate list of all the things you’ve done. It’s a sales letter, and you are the product,” reminds JobLife’s Saleem Jaffer. “Picture this: Two applicants have identical skills and histories, but one says they ‘formulated a marketing program that integrated new policies and launched the company as a top 10 performer in the province,’ and the other says they were ‘responsible for marketing.’ Get rid of weak-sounding verbs like ‘managed’ and ‘was responsible for’ or even weaker ones like ‘did’ and ‘made.’ Go for verbs that are vivid and descriptive — clarified, expanded, initiated, inspired, investigated, informed, monitored. All these verbs give employers an idea of what you can do and will make it easier for them to picture you actually doing it for them.”
9. Trim the fat. “Streamline your resume by removing irrelevant skills, hobbies, previous jobs, and any mention of ‘references available upon request,’” advises Executive Director of The Creative Group Diane Domeyer. “If it’s been a while since you graduated, leave off your GPA and college awards.” While you may still be super-proud of all those crazy all-nighters that led to your A- average, it’s probably not as relevant as your current projects or newly acquired on-the-job skills.
Do you have any easy tips for jazzing up a resume? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)