Why Your Resume is Boring and What You Should Do About It

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Your resume looks like EVERY other resume out there, but if you think funny fonts and crazy colors are the way to turn from boring to brilliant, you’re rushing down a misguided path. In the seven seconds that hiring managers spend scanning a resume, what they’re looking for is substance. Does yours have any? In that tiny amount of time, you need to capture their attention, stand out from the crowd, and make them want to learn more about you. If you haven’t received many callbacks lately, it’s time to inject some new life into your old resume.

Choose a Simple, Professional Resume Design 

Substance matters more than sizzle, but how your resume looks is still important. It needs to be well-organized, clear, and clean. You can use a template from Canva or Microsoft Word or just follow a traditional outline listing your most recent jobs and educational achievements at the top. Unless you’ve been in the workforce for years, your resume should be one page. Use a font that’s both professional and easy to read. Don’t cram too much text onto your resume and use white space to give each section breathing room. If you want to add color, choose a neutral background like a light gray or beige to make your resume stand out. For digital versions of your resume, be sure to create a pdf. 

Ditch the Objective at Top of Resume

Don’t list an objective at the top of your resume. Employers know that your objective is to be hired, so don’t waste precious space to state the obvious, no matter how well-articulated. Instead, swap it out with a personal branding statement. This tells the employer a bit about yourself and why you’re the best fit for the job. For example, if you’re applying for an office manager job, you could write: “I’m a business office manager with five years of experience managing data, coordinating meetings and events, and providing excellent customer service to large-scale organizations.”

Connect Your Experience to the Job

Because most resumes first travel digitally to a hiring manager, it’s easier than ever to customize. Make sure to align your skills to the job requirements. Even if your experiences don’t exactly match what the employer is looking for, you can use transferable skills. For example, maybe you’ve worked a cash register. That requires some customer service. And that means you have experience working with people which is valuable across professions. 

Beat AI With Appropriate Keywords in Your Resume

Artificial intelligence is often used to automate parts of the hiring process. Employers can use AI to sift through the first round of resumes before humans do. This eliminates any resumes that may not include the skills, experience, or education listed in the job description—including yours. To beat the AI game, include appropriate keywords from the job listing. For example, if you’re applying for a job in cybersecurity and the post lists preferred or required skills in network security, digital forensics, and cloud security, be sure to include those exact words on your resume. 

Use Short Phrases and Active Verbs in Your Resume

What’s an active verb? It’s one where the subject of the sentence takes the action. Instead of a passive sentence: The bundle was lifted by Pedro, you want an active sentence: Pedro lifted the bundle. To keep your reader’s attention, use active verbs like “created,” “organized,” “designed,” or “launched.” Retire tired verbs such as “served as,” “worked on,” and “duties included.” You also need to get to the point as quickly as you can. Remember, that hiring manager only spends seconds looking at your resume. And lead with the best you have. How have you directly contributed to your team and your company? What have you accomplished that might separate you from your competitors? 

Add Your Skillset to Your Resume

Your skillset is unique to you. This section on your resume shows the employer what you bring to the table, so you should list out your technical and soft skills. Hard skills could be anything from the types of software that you’re proficient in, to the specific job responsibilities you know how to perform. Make sure you list skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If the position is hybrid or remote, include remote work skills, such as video conferencing software, file sharing apps, or instant messaging. And for soft skills, consider communication, attention to detail, and other important skills that employers like to see in their new hires.

At Charter College, we understand the importance of the job search and want to help you prepare for it. We offer several training programs in areas like Business, Healthcare, Information Technology, and the Skilled Trades. Our faculty are dedicated to your success and our Career Services team can make you ready for the job search with resume and cover letter workshops, mock interviews, and more. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.