5 tips for updating your resume

By: Abby Cousineau

resume 5 tips

Don’t let a bland resume hold you back from landing your dream job.

Resume is defined as a brief summary of one’s education, qualifications, and previous experience. In other words, that single piece of paper pretty much determines whether you get called for a job interview.

The thought of sitting down and updating your resume can be downright terrifying. The reason why it feels like this is probably because you assume it’s going to take hours to get it right. But what if I told you that fixing your resume really isn’t that hard?

Make substantial strides in updating your resume by following these five quick, HR-approved tips that will make your piece of paper stand out.

  1. Highlight accomplishments.

Yes, employers need to know what you did, when you did it and where you did it, but one thing people tend to leave out is what they are truly proud of in a past job. Instead of just outlining the basic job responsibilities and leaving it at that, try adding a “key accomplishments” section where you lay out the achievements you are proudest of.

It may look something like this:

  1. Eliminate clichés.

Refrain from including popular clichés like “detail oriented” or “out-of-the-box thinker” in your resume. Employers see these phrases so often that meaning is pretty much entirely stripped away from them. Instead, locate these clichés and replace them with less popular synonyms. A great tool for finding alternative words is Power Thesaurus.

  1. Replace the objective with a summary.

The top of your resume is the first place recruiters look, so don’t waste it describing your objective. Recruiters know what your objective is: to get the job. Instead, use this key spot on your resume to introduce yourself and outline what valuable skills you will bring to the company.

  1. Include key words.

If you are applying to jobs online, there is a good chance your resume will not be initially viewed by a human. Likely your resume will be scanned for key words by a computer and then either be discarded or end up on someone’s desk.

Thus, it is important that you highlight key words from the job description in your resume and weave them throughout your resume.

  1. Make your previous job experience work.

If you are a student or a recent graduate with little relevant work history, be inventive and make other job responsibilities work. For example, if you worked at a coffee shop while in school, yes, you probably gained little traditional PR-related experience, however, you may have learned skills in customer service, time management, interpersonal communication, team work, upselling, etc.

All of these abilities are valuable and can be applied to many fields of work. Additionally, you can include relevant courses and class projects and experience from internships as well.

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-Board as social media director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Twitter @abcattt.


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