Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out builtbygirls.com.
The end of the year is not only a great time to reflect, but also to look forward. Set yourself up for success in 2021 by revamping your resume. Even if you’re not actively searching for a new job, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any opportunities that may arise.
Hiring managers can get hundreds or even thousands of applicants for one role — so to get to the top of the pile, you must have a spotless resume that is relevant to the position. Here are a few key things to keep in mind for building a resume that gets noticed (because you should be noticed!).
Optimize with keywords
Fun fact: When you upload your resume to an online job application, it’s entered into a database and sorted based on the document’s keywords. This means the first elimination is done by a computer, not a person. So how do we make a resume computer-friendly? Keywords.
Pull up several job descriptions for roles you’re interested in, pay attention to certain words that are used repeatedly then incorporate those words in your resume.
Tailor the resume to each role
Always revise your resume for each new application. Use the job description to tie your unique experience to the role you’re applying for by using words and descriptions found in the job posting. For example, if the employer is looking for a candidate who is a “self-driven leader with graphic design experience,” include your experience as the lead designer for your school’s yearbook.
Use the right format
Organize your resume in a way so it’s easily read by a computer that will be scanning from left to right, top to bottom. (Good thing this is how English-speaking people read, too.) Don’t forget to include the location and the timeframe of your previous roles.
Not sure where to start? See a few templates here.
Use bullets in descriptions
For each job, write a bulleted description of three to five points highlighting your responsibilities and achievements. Be very specific, only mention the most impactful components of your job, and include quantifiable results, if you can. If you were an administrative assistant, you don’t need to write you answered phones and made copies (unless you’re applying to another assistant role.)
Proofread at least twice
Always, always proofread your resume! A careless typo may mean the difference between landing the interview or not. You know you can totally crush the role, so don’t let a small mistake keep you from proving it to the hiring manager. Ask a friend or family member to check for errors. Sometimes another pair of eyes can spot a goof-up better than you.
Are you actively job hunting? Then make sure you’re always ready to go with a generic resume for your ideal role and keep your LinkedIn profile current.
Read more information and tips in our Advice section