5 Ways to Refine Your Resume: Tips From our Recruiters

Writing a resume takes time; especially when styles and technology constantly change. Whether you’re working on your first resume or updating it for the umpteenth time, knowing how to optimize your content can be a challenge.  

Our recruiters at Palmer Group are experts on this topic, as they communicate with hiring professionals consistently for companies both large and small. If you’ve already formatted and written your resume, you’ve done the hardest part – now it’s time to refine it. Our recruiters have come up with five areas you should review to make sure your resume is optimized to showcase your qualifications, so you increase your chances of landing an interview.  

1. Remember the Details

Be sure your phone number and email addresses are at the top of the page –and are accurate (no misspellings or wrong phone numbers). Both are important; you might be surprised how often these are forgotten. Also, keep spacing and formatting consistent throughout the resume (if you put dates on the right for one employment entry, the rest should follow). The resume format is just as important as the information on it (if the formatting is poor, the recruiter may never get to the content!). A well-formatted document with a clean layout and clear contact information always looks professional. 

Your resume is the first time the hiring manager will "meet" you. Be sure to make a great first impression. Proofread your resume multiple times to catch any typos or grammatical errors. Mistakes in your resume make you look careless when your goal is to demonstrate you are professional and detail oriented. It can be helpful to ask a friend or colleague to review your resume as well. Their neutral eye is more likely to notice areas that need improvement, and they can provide valuable feedback. 

2. Tailor Your Resume to Every Position 

When applying for a job, you must tailor your resume to each specific position. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job. It's on you to show the hiring manager that you are a good fit for the position (hopefully the best fit). It will increase your chance of getting to the interview stage. Each job application is for a different business or department with varying requirements and a distinct company culture. Do your homework to identify qualities and experiences in your professional history that best relate to the specific job description. The process can be time-consuming but still well worth your efforts.  

Working with an employment firm can alleviate some of the burden of figuring it out on your own. Recruiters have an insider's insight on the best way to format your resume to showcase your information because of the relationship they have with each company. They can help coach you on how to make your resume stand out.  Important Note: If you are a recent graduate, place your education and relevant courses at the beginning of the resume, as that is your biggest professional strength.  

3. Make Your Resume Easy to Read 

Employers look at each resume for only about 7 seconds… that’s not much time to make an impression. It’s up to you to draw their attention to the most important parts of your resume. Improve your resume with these practical strategies. 

It should be skimmable. Use plenty of white space and bulleted lists to make information easy to take in at a glance. Bold or italicize the information you want to stand out (Sparingly! All bold is worse than no bold.) 

Keep it brief. Keep your resume concise and easy to read. Hiring managers often have to review a large number of resumes, so it's essential to keep yours concise and easy to read. Use bullet points and avoid dense blocks of text. It will make it easier for the hiring manager to scan your resume and quickly identify the most relevant information. 

Use strong, clear language. When writing your resume, use strong, clear language that is easy to understand. Avoid overly technical jargon used in your profession and ensure that your resume is free of typos and grammatical errors. 

Be specific. Quantify whatever you can and highlight your achievements; don't just list your duties. When describing your past responsibilities and accomplishments, focus on your achievements rather than just your duties.  

Choose action words. Make your resume stand out by using active verbs to describe your past responsibilities and accomplishments. It makes your resume more dynamic, interesting and results focused. 

Include keywords. Adjust your wording to mirror the words used in the job post. It can help ensure you stay in the running, especially if the company is using software to screen resumes before a human sets eyes on them.  

4. Skip the Objective 

Job seekers were once advised to place an objective at the top of their resume. It’s a waste of valuable space. Your career goals or objectives are more appropriately discussed in the interview when you and the interviewer are getting to know each other, not when the hiring manager is trying to decide whether to interview you or not. Use that place instead for a summary of your qualifications.  

Draft a short paragraph or add a bulleted list of skills or experience that is relevant to the position you’re interested in. Use the same language or keywords as they do so they can tell at a glance if they should take the time to interview you. If you write a fresh summary for every job you apply to, the rest of the resume can remain mostly the same.  

5. Be 100% Honest 

This point is invaluable. As mentioned above, your resume layout and word choice will vary depending on the job and application requirements. However, all of your information should be entirely true. Lying on your resume has consequences. Any information you include can be verified, and false statements are often grounds for dismissal.  

When you enter an office for an interview, you should be prepared to answer in detail about the information you placed on your resume. Being able to speak knowledgeably about your abilities is more admirable than stumbling around on a subject you aren’t an expert in.  

If you take the time to learn how to improve your resume quality with these tips, you should feel confident in sending off your resume. Add a well-written cover letter and you’re bound to make a great impression! If you have any additional questions regarding specific resume updates or how our recruiters can help you make the right connections with potential employers, please contact us today or view our open jobs