Your resume is your first chance to make an impression with the hiring manager at a company where you want to work — and it’s an important one. You need to catch their attention in just six seconds if you want to get an interview. That’s why it’s so important that you ditch the boring resume and create one that stands out from the competition in all the right ways.
Here’s how to tell if your resume is boring and how you can fix it.
It has outdated design — if any at all. Good design matters, and as with anything in marketing (because you are marketing yourself here), you want a design that is visually appealing. Resumes that are a solid block of black, Times New Roman font are out. Instead, incorporate pops of color, more modern, yet easy to read fonts, and a strategic, clean design. You can go online and download a resume template to help incorporate these elements. The key here is to strike a balance between a resume that gives you the creative edge but doesn’t overdo it.
You state an objective. An objective at the top of your resume is old school. It should be clear based on the job posting what your objective will be, so you don’t need to state it. Instead, replace this section with a dynamic, one- or two-sentence summary that tells who you are and why you’re perfect for the job. This is a good place to customize for each job you apply to.
It lacks detail. Your resume is your time to shine, so don’t be modest! Think of where you have excelled in your previous positions, and share the specific numbers and details to illustrate the great work you’ve done. For example, rather than saying you, “Supervised employees,” how about “Supervised five, full-time dental assistants”? The second option gives the recruiter or hiring manager a better sense of what you did and what the work environment was like. Also make sure to include any awards and recognitions you’ve received, and certifications you have.
It includes too much detail. While you want to paint a picture of your previous roles, stick to the most important and impressive responsibilities. Don’t waste precious resume space listing out every single task you performed. Instead, share the most notable aspects of your job and what you did that went above and beyond.
It makes you sound like a passive robot. You want to catch the hiring manager’s attention, so show the real, human you and how not boring you are! Use active verbs that show readers what you’ve done, like “launched,” “completed,” and “created.” And instead of using worn-out phrases like “results-oriented,” tell what results you achieved and how. In general, write like you are a person communicating with another person. If what you wrote bores you and doesn’t sound true to who you are, then it will bore the recruiter too, and they won’t know what you’re really about.
It’s too focused on soft skills. Words like “quick learner” and “team player” are common on resumes today. But hiring managers agree that these are not the kinds of terms that they or the bots they use search for. Think of the specific hard skills you have that are important for the job you want and share these. You’ll have time to demonstrate your soft skills once you land the interview.
It’s not specific enough. A great way to get overlooked for a position is to submit a generic resume that you send to every kind of job you apply for. To show that you’re serious, tailor your resume to the specific job posting, every time. Look at the keywords the company used in the job posting. How can you include them in your resume? For example, your key skills should be a central part of your resume, but you should tweak them for each application so that you highlight the right skills for the right job.
Now that you know how to spice up a boring resume, you’re on your way to landing the interview. At Charter College, our Career Services department is here to guide students in the classroom and beyond. We’ll help you craft a powerful resume and enter the job hunt. Contact us today to learn more.