How to Revamp Your Resume in 10 Minutes (Less, Even)
Job Search

The 10-Minute Resume Revamp

by Nicole Smartt
Photos Hannah Suh | April 21, 2016

If you've got time to scroll Instagram, you've got time to update your prior work experience and references. For real, though.

Ugh, it’s time to look for a job again. The current gig is unfulfilling. The commute is horrendous. The boss is a pain. Or maybe you just went through a startling layoff. Whatever the case, you feel like your career path has become more of a dirt trail. It’s time to start marketing yourself again and that means polishing the resume. 

Under normal circumstances, we'd recommend carving out a weekend to go through the process of updating and sprucing your resume. But what if the inspiration to update comes from seeing your ideal job listed, and you need to apply ASAP? Cue the 10-minute resume hack, the working woman's answer to a looming deadline. 

Let’s break it down into four easy categories.

LAYOUT: OH HEYYY, YOU LOOK GOOD

1. Make sure your resume looks as current as you are. Sans-serif fonts are clean and modern—Helvetica or Arial are sure bets.

2. Name the file with your first and last name, like this: “Kelly_Kapoor_Resume.” The hiring manager will thank you for it

3. If you’re not a recent grad, move education below experience. And delete anything about high school unless it absolutely has to be there.

4. Is your formatting consistent? Sometimes when you copy and paste, another font or font size can slip in, unbeknownst to you.

RELEVANCE: THAT ONE TIME IT WAS ALL ABOUT YOU

1. References Upon Request and resume objectives are things of the past. If you make it to round two, they’ll ask for references. The progression of your skills and experiences show where you’re going.

2.If you’re still listing your address at the top, delete it, especially if you’re looking for work outside your locale. If hiring managers think the commute might be too long, you’re out of the running before you begin. {click to tweet}

We’ll say just four words and leave it at that (but we will use all caps)—PROOFREAD AND SPELL CHECK.

3. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile (with custom URL), and your Twitter and Skype handles, especially if you’re in tech. For you creative types, include Instagram or Flickr. Leave Facebook out.

4. Make all hyperlinks live for easy online reading. It’s helpful if you hyperlink the companies you’ve worked for too.

FINESSE: F-I-N-E-S-S-E

1. We’ll say just four words and leave it at that (but we will use all caps)—PROOFREAD AND SPELL CHECK. {click to tweet}

2. Save and send your resume as a PDF so the formatting doesn’t get wonky. We knew one applicant who, when sitting in the interview, noticed her resume had rolled onto three pages instead of the requisite two! She never made the mistake of sending out a Word version again.

3. An old marketing trick: read your resume out loud. It highlights awkward sentence structure and poor flow.

4. Drop your resume into a word cloud generator (like wordclouds.com) to see which words pop up. If they aren’t the words you want, go back and edit.

CONTENT: YOUR WORDS, YOUR WORLD

1. Make sure you’re using active, powerful words instead of the old stand-bys “duties included,” or “served as.” Instead, go for words like “targeted,” “launched,” or “safeguarded.” You get the idea.

2. If you had several positions with the same company, stack them (and below, show a bulleted list of achievements, which can come from any of the positions):

COMPANY NAME, 4/11 to present

Queen of Payroll, 7/14 to present

Accounting Acolyte, 2/12 to 7/14

Amateur Operator, 4/11 to 2/12

3. You want no more than 6-7 bullet points per position, even if you’ve been at the job a long time.

4. List tangible outcomes. Did you help increase revenue by what percent? Did you limit expenses? By what amount? An estimate is okay here.

5. Compare your resume to the job description. You should probably tweak your resume every time you apply for a job. Use the cover letter to make connections that may not be obvious.

No one’s resume is absolutely perfect. You’re just competing with other humans, after all. But do the best you can, keep improving, and good things will come!

Got any resume hacks of your own? Share them with the group in the comments. 

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