Resumes can be a drag to write and an even bigger drag to edit and proofread, especially if you’re trying to get job applications out quickly. If you’re looking for quick ways to make your resume great in a matter of minutes, we’ve got you covered.
Below are 37 ways to take your resume from good to great, each in 5 minutes or less, and one thing’s for sure: If you take these things into consideration, no recruiter or hiring manager is going to be able to pass you by.
1. Make Your Resume Only a Page
It’s a little suspect when someone in their late teens or early 20s has a five-page resume. Get yours down to a page, and make sure you don’t go below a 10-point font to do so.
2. Get a Professional Email Address
Your old email@example.com address won’t do you any favors. Swap it out for a professional Gmail account that reads firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
3. Take Out Your Objective Statement
It’s just taking up room.
4. Add Relevant Professional Links
Your WayUp profile gives employers a holistic way to learn more about you and your past work experience, extracurriculars, hobbies and more, and if it’s common in your industry, links to portfolios or personal websites can also be a bonus.
On your resume, links can go either at the top of your resume with all of your contact information, or at the bottom after your work experience. If the URL is long, however, use a customizable shortened link like Bitly so that it doesn’t look too long on the page. For example, make your Bitly link say, “bit.ly/LilyHermanResume” so it’s easy for people to find.
5. Check for Broken Hyperlinks
If you include any links, be sure that the hyperlinks work and that the URLs are spelled correctly.
6. Change Your Font to Something More Professional
Arial, Georgia, Helvetica and Times New Roman are great places to start. No Comic Sans or Curly fonts.
As for sizing, stick to somewhere between 10 and 13 point font. You want people to be able to read your resume without trouble, but you also don’t want it to be obvious that you doubled your font size to make up for a lack of work experience.
7. Get Rid of “References Available Upon Request”
This is a given, so you might as well get rid of the suggestion and save yourself a line or two of space.
8. Scrap Those Random Extracurriculars
Unless the fact that you were on Geography Club for a month during your freshman year of college is ridiculously relevant to the position you’re applying for, take it off.
9. Take Off Those Very Short-Term Jobs Too
Much like random extracurriculars, your two-week stint as a server at a local restaurant isn’t a necessary addition unless it’s critical to landing the job you’re applying for now. Don’t include it just to take up space.
10. Proofread Your Resume by Reading From the Bottom to the Top
By reading each sentence on your resume starting with the last one, your brain picks up on all sorts of grammar, spelling and formatting mistakes you may not have noticed originally.
11. Swap Unnecessarily Complex Words for Simpler Ones
No need to say you’re a “loquacious orator” when you just want to note that you’re great at public speaking. Skip the flowery stuff.
12. Use Industry Lingo
Instead of saying “Hypertext Markup Language,” just say HTML.
13. Don’t Make Up Industry Lingo
Maybe a company you worked at previously had interesting acronyms for different parts of your role, but that doesn’t mean those are common knowledge. If a random industry professional wouldn’t know what you’re talking about, spell it out.
14. Get Rid of Any Opinions or Bizarre Facts
Don’t include your political or religious views or the fact that you can burp on command. Having a one-sentence fun fact or a short “Interests” section is fine, but make sure it’s appropriate and still pertains to the job in some way.
15. Steer Clear of Vague, Generic or Cliche Terms
If you wrote the phrases “self-motivated” or “result-driven,” take them out and put your money where your mouth is. The projects you’ve taken on and the actual results you’ve gotten will do a far better job of getting the point across than some overused, empty terms.
16. Widen the Page Margins
The text shouldn’t be at the edge of your page, but the school-appropriate one-inch margin isn’t necessary if you need the extra space, especially if you’re keeping your resume to one page. Typically margins between 0.50-0.75 inches are okay.
17. Get Rid of Any Long Paragraphs
Your resume should be organized in bullet points (just like a WayUp profile); paragraphs will make a hiring manager’s eyes glaze over.
18. Take Out Anything That’s a Heavy Exaggeration (or a Lie)
Make sure you’re not claiming any skills or results that you can’t back up or didn’t do. Potential employers always find out.
19. Double-Check That Your Contact Information Is Correct
There’s nothing more awkward than realizing you left a letter out of your email address or put a “6” instead of a “7” in your phone number.
20. Talk About Accomplishments, Not Just Duties
Instead of listing what you did at your job, show potential employers what your impact was. For instance, if you were a social media intern, go a step further than saying that you “managed social media accounts” and explain that you “increased Facebook engagement by 77%.”
21. Write Numbers and Percentages for Maximum Impact
Saying that you increased email open rates by 33% looks more impressive than “thirty-three percent.” It also saves space.
22. Leave Off Early High School Jobs
Try to steer clear of jobs, internships and opportunities you took during freshman and sophomore years of high school unless they’re part of a larger pattern (for example, working as a server for three years of high school).
Including early high school jobs in your resume is much more acceptable if you’re a college freshman or sophomore, but it’d be ideal if you left off them off entirely, especially as a college junior or senior.
23. Include Education Outside the Classroom
Did you take an online class on accounting or programming? These courses and certifications can make or break you moving onto the next round.
24. Make Your Resume File Name Identifiable
Don’t save your resume file as “Resume1.” Save it as “FirstName LastName Resume,” or if you want to be an overachiever, add in the name of the company you’re applying to at the end of the file name.
25. Get Someone Else to Read Your Resume
You’d be surprised at how many errors other people can pick up on in a matter of seconds.
26. Be Honest About Your GPA
There’s no reason to lie. And if you’re worried about it being too low (for instance, below a 3.0), feel free to leave it off and just include your major(s), minor(s), concentration(s) and certificate(s).
27. Don’t Add Basic Things to Your “Skills” Section
Knowing how to use Microsoft Word is a given at this point. There’s no need to waste precious resume space listing skills that everyone should know.
28. Make Your Resume Look Standard for the Industry
Google and talk to people about what the typical resume in your industry looks like. After all, there’s a big difference between applying for jobs in graphic design and applying for jobs in finance.
29. Save Your Resume as a PDF
If you save your resume as a Microsoft Word document, there’s a high chance that the formatting could look different on someone else’s computer depending on their Word softare. PDFs look the same on all devices, so it’s an easy way to make sure your resume arrives to an employer error-free.
30. Move the Most Important Information Towards the Top
Think of it this way: Recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning your resume, so what do you want them to see during that time? You want to catch their eye with relevant job information and critical stats. You also want to make it easy for them to see that you can do the job you’re applying for.
31. Highlight Transferable Skills
If you don’t really have any relevant experience for the job you’re applying for, don’t panic. A great way to show employers you can still do the job is to highlight the transferable skills that prove you’re fit for this role.
For instance, if you’re trying to show that your role as a waitress makes you qualified for a sales role, be sure to highlight your experience with customer service and working with clients and other colleagues alike to make sure everyone is satisfied.
32. Don’t Center-Align Your Entire Resume
The eye naturally reads from left to right, so aside from centering your header at the top, make sure the rest of your resume is left-aligned. And while you’re at it, don’t use the “Justified” alignment option, either; it makes the formatting look inconsistent.
33. Say No to Graphics, Visuals and Images
Unless you’re applying to a creative job or internships that’ll appreciate your effort and you’re really good at graphic design, take out any headshots, clip art and other random images.
34. Take Out Your Address
Not only does your address take up space, but interestingly enough, it could do more harm than good: A hiring manager might see that you live nowhere near the company and may not want to take a gamble on you relocating.
35. Make Your Formatting Uniform
Go through and make sure that every part of your resume formatting is the same throughout. For instance, are your spelling out dates (“September 2012-March 2014”) or shortening them (“Sept. 2012-Mar. 2014”)? Are you even putting months or just years?
36. Put Past Positions and Company Names in Bold
Skimming a wall of text is a lot for hiring managers, so by putting past roles and their companies’ names in bold, it’ll make your resume much more skim-able.
37. Don’t Stop Tweaking It
As you continue your career and take on more roles and responsibilities, it’s important to always keep an up-to-date resume on hand and to customize your resume for every job you apply for.
Want to put your flawless resume to good use? Apply to jobs on WayUp with it.