5 Simple Moves That Can Make a Good Resume Great

Even if your resume is already a true winner , a lightning strike, a one-in-a-million standout, there are still a few things you can do to give your credentials an additional boost of star power. Open your file one more time, find your “”brightness” setting, and adjust that dial up a notch. Start with these five simple moves. 

1. Check for Parallel Structure

Review all of your subheadings and make sure they align in terms of structure, capitalization, font size, and font style. Then check each list of bullet points under those subheadings. Make sure each bulleted item is presented in the same font style and size, but just as important: make sure your verb-subject-object orientation is consistent. Here’s an example:

Non-parallel (bad): 

  • Designed promotions for product rollouts
  • Educational outreach programs
  • I was the team leader for two successful grant requests
  • Run the yearly blood drive every fall

Parallel (better): 

  • Designed promotions for product rollouts
  • Launched educational outreach programs
  • Served as the team leader for two successful grant requests
  • Organized the annual blood drive for three consecutive years

2. Hit the Delete Key

The delete key is an effective resume’s best friend. So hit it hard. Tight, effective resumes tell the story of an entire career in two pages or fewer (one page is ideal for entry- and mid-level employees), hitting all the high points and condensing every rambling detail. Turn your resume into a short, simple, highly readable blockbuster by attacking two key threats to precision and brevity: irrelevant information and adverbs.

Remove all the adverbs, or words that modify an adjective or verb. These words usually end in “ly.” And in most resumes, they’re a tired and easily recognizable group. Get rid of “successfully” first. Then go after “quickly,” “effectively,” “efficiently,” and “accurately.” While you’re at it, take a hard look at every use of “necessary,” “necessarily,” and “as necessary.” Necessary and successful aren’t adverbs, but they have the same impact: they drain the life out of an otherwise sharp and focused profile.

3. Consider the Frame

Beautiful art is enhanced and set apart by a beautiful frame, and great resumes are enhanced and set apart by strong cover letters. Take a close look at your cover letter and make sure your sentences and claims are drawing attention to the most important details of your resume.

These documents are both critical to an effective job search, and each one can’t get very far without the support of the other. Keep your cover letter fluid and confident. Your language should be relaxed—not overly formal—but set in a high register that suggests intelligence and generates trust. 

4. Send Your Message to the Right People

Make sure your resume reaches the right audience. Read the post carefully and follow the submission directions carefully, but don’t stop there. Follow up two days later by phone or email to make sure your resume was received. Ask if there’s anything more you can do to set yourself apart or make the selection process easier.

5. Leave Your Competition Behind

The templates, guidelines, and formatting tools available on LiveCareer can take your resume to the next level and get you off the job market and into the position of your dreams. Explore the site today and start submitting your new resume to employers tomorrow.  

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