Improve your resume with these resume writing strategies to generate more interviews—and, ultimately, job offers.
As a resume writer with 24 years of experience, I know it’s critical to write a visually appealing resume that is keyword-rich and accomplishment-based, to highlight the value you can bring to an organization. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Resume Writing Tips to Improve Your Resume Immediately
1. Visually appealing resumes get readers’ attention
Ensure the reader knows you are a mature and respectable individual who will be an asset to their company or organization. The appearance of your resume and cover letter speaks volumes about the job seeker. Use a crisp, appealing design that looks like its rightful place should be in an employer’s or hiring manager’s hand. Ask, “Just by looking at these documents, would I hire myself?”
2. Include relevant content with keywords and accomplishments.
Everything you write in your resume and cover letter must also sound professional. Use appropriate words and phrases and avoid ambiguous terms such as “thing(s).” If you are uncertain how to express yourself, ask someone else for their opinion, or try completely rewriting the sentence or paragraph until you get it right. If you apply for a management position, you must make your document sound like a manager writing it and using it.
3. Design it to stand out.
Do not use the regular old Microsoft Word Resume Template! Many people get caught in this trap. Yes, it may contain a good basic outline, but if everyone uses the same template, no one will stand out from the crowd, including you.
There is nothing wrong with using a template, but find an uncommon (yet correct) one and make it your own. Play with the font, borders, spacing, etc., to make it eye-catching.
4. Improve your resume by showing the VALUE you can bring.
Even though it may seem like you are selling your resume and cover letter first, you are selling yourself first and foremost. Your resume must look appealing and communicate you are a desirable candidate.
While developing an attractive design, ensure that you include all pertinent information: education, credentials, work experience, professional development, etc. Assess the company’s job advertisement, if available, and ensure you have touched on all required qualifications in your cover letter.
5. Double-check spelling and grammar.
Nothing looks worse on a job application document than someone who either can’t spell or at least use a spell and grammar check. If you’re a person who struggles with spelling and proper grammar, it may be a wise idea to use a dictionary, thesaurus, or grammar guide or have it proofread.
If you are attempting to use a “big word” but are unsure if you have incorporated it appropriately, don’t use it. A hiring manager can pick up immediately if someone is trying to impress but failing.
6. Remain consistent between the resume and cover letter.
If you decide to use a border in one document, you must use it in the other. The same goes for formatting: layout, design, color, font style, font size, etc. All job application documents should have the same overall format. There needs to be uniformity. Consistency will help ensure your documents stay together and attract the employer’s eye. Furthermore, it demonstrates your keen eye for detail and the ability to remain consistent.
7. Proofread your resume a second and third time.
It never hurts to review your documents more than once; it gives you another opportunity to improve your resume. Sometimes you may have missed something the first time but will catch the mistake next time. After proofreading it the first time, take some time away from the document to give your eyes and brain a break.
Come back about an hour later and re-read your resume and cover letter. You may be surprised at how many errors you missed on the first read-through. Don’t be afraid to enlist a friend’s or family member’s help. Having someone else read your documents is another excellent way to catch mistakes.
8. List all contact information on your resume and cover letter.
This point may seem like a no-brainer, but it is impressive to learn how many people forget to put vital contact information on their resumes and cover letters. How is the hiring manager supposed to communicate with you?
At the top of the page, please type your full name as you would like it to appear (first, middle, last name; or, instead, middle initial, last name). The second line should include a home address, phone numbers (home, work, cell – whichever numbers you would like to use), and an email address. Triple-check these details.
Make your name more prominent and bolder than the rest of the information. Draw a line after your contact information to separate it from the remainder of the document.
9. Incorporate borders to draw positive attention.
An excellent way to improve your resume is to ensure it is visually appealing to stand out by making it different from others. Use a solid, double, or triple line around your entire document. You may also use a dashed (- – -) border or something a bit fancier.
Don’t use a childish or immature border (i.e., palm trees, pieces of cake, film strips) or one that does not suit your job target. If you apply for an artistic job, you can get a bit more creative while still keeping it professional. Remember, the border should not draw attention away from the content of your resume or cover letter.
10. If you want to improve your resume, hire a professional resume writer like Candace.
You may think to yourself:
“Why should I invest in having someone else write my resume and cover letter?”
ANSWER: If that professionally written resume and cover letter will help you land your dream job, wouldn’t it be worth the investment?
Why take the chance of submitting a sub-par document only to have it ignored, leaving you with a lost opportunity? Send them immediately if you are 100% confident in your job search documents.
Review our resume and cover letter samples.