When your resume is in need of a major overhaul, the hardest part is often figuring out where to begin.
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That's why I took the opportunity to draw on my experience as a resume expert and create this list of 10 tips to help you get started. If you want your resume to land in the spotlight, these should be your primary concerns when writing it:
1. Keep It Relevant to the Job You Want
If you've spent the last five years as a marketing professional but are seeking a sales position, it might be wise to showcase the relevant sales skills you have developed in your most recent position(s), rather than your marketing skills.
2. Leave Out the Objective Statement
Resume best practices are constantly evolving. There was a time when including an objective statement was standard. Today, however, objective statements are seen as unnecessary at best and actively harmful to your candidacy at worst. In part, that's because hiring managers are so overloaded by resumes that they've started using objective statements to weed candidates out.
If you want a potential employer to know more about you and why you're a great fit for the job, include a cover letter with your application.
3. Use Reverse Chronological Order
Even though resume standards and practices do change, one thing that has remained constant is the order in which you should list your experience. You'll want to begin with your most recent or current position and work backwards, which means the education section of your resume should be listed after your professional history. The only exception to this rule is for recent grads, who are better served listing their education first.
4. Keywords Might Be the Key to Unlocking an Interview Request
Because your resume will likely be filtered by an applicant tracking system at some point, it should contain the right keywords based on the job description. If you read the description and you're still not sure which keywords to use, there tools like TagCrowd can help you decide which keywords are the most relevant.
5. Keep It Simple
Focus on keeping your information organized and easy to skim. Most recruiters are scanning your resume for specific skill sets and information. Don't overshadow the content of your resume with wordiness, graphics, or irrelevant information.
6. Numbers Are Your Friend
Use pieces of quantifiable information that highlight your accomplishments and track record of success. If you increased new business by 25 percent in the first quarter, put it on your resume. If your targeted marketing campaign generated 150,000 new leads, make sure that information is on your resume.
If you aren't currently tracking that kind of data, there's no time like the present to begin doing so.
7. Fill in Those Gaps
It's a tough time to be a job seeker. Many people have been unemployed for six months or longer. Just because you haven't been employed by a company doesn't mean you haven't kept busy. If you have been doing volunteer work or taking classes during your unemployment, list that on your resume, just above your previous position.
8. Proofread Like Your Future Depends on It
Your resume is only a snapshot of who you are as a person – but, unfortunately, it's also the only thing a recruiter has to look at when determining your qualifications. Stay credible with a thorough proofing (or two, or three) of your resume.
9. Keep It Fresh
Every few months, you should take a minute to tweak and update your resume. It's good to keep it current, even if you aren't actively job searching – you never know when you'll need it for a promotion or volunteer opportunity.
10. Ask for Help
Don't be shy about asking a family member, friend, or trusted colleague to help with your resume. Sometimes, it may even be a good idea to look for professional help, depending on your situation.
So, if you're at a loss with your resume, try starting with these tips. You'll be well on your way to an eye-catching and job-landing resume in no time.
A version of this article originally appeared on ResumeSpice.
Savannah Ober is a resume expert at ResumeSpice.