Gone are the days of showing up unannounced, asking to speak with a manager, and submitting your resume in person. In its place, the job application process is almost entirely online. As a result, employers’ inboxes are flooded with hundreds of new resumes every day. This overwhelming number of applicants makes it harder than ever for your resume stick out from the crowd. Therefore, more than ever before, it’s important to make sure that your resume portrays you as eligible as possible.
Fortunately, you can optimize your resume to not only increase your chances of being seen by an employer, but also of being hired. To help, here are five tips on improving your resume.
1. Update Your Resume to Reflect Your Most Recent Experience
While it may be tempting to include your experience directing your high school play on your resume, you should not include it. Especially if you graduated from high school 15 years ago.
According to the resume professionals at Indeed, you should only include experiences from the last 10 to 15 years. The only exception being if it connects specifically with the job you’re applying for.
Most potential employers find anything older than 15 years to be an outdated experience. Moreover, including old experience — especially if it makes up most of your listed experience — could be seen as trying to fill in for a lack of recent experience.
2. Omit Irrelevant Experience
Anything that doesn’t speak to your ability to competently fill the role you’re applying for should be omitted from your resume.
For example, if you’re applying for an accountant job, it probably doesn’t make sense to include your experience directing a high school play. Unless you specifically handled the finances of the play, an employer likely won’t see your experience directing a play as proof of your ability to fulfill the role of an accountant.
3. Make Your Resume as Concise as Possible
To illustrate why it’s important to make your resume as concise as possible, imagine that you’re an employer trying to fill a sought-after role at your company. On the first day, you receive 300 applications. You then receive another 500 the next day. By the end of the week, you have 1,500 applications to consider.
With so many resumes to consider, you inevitably want to get through as many resumes as quickly as possible. Therefore, the easier you can make it for the employer to digest your resume at a glance, the better chances you have of the employer seeing and seriously considering your resume.
To keep things simple, try to fit your entire resume onto one page.1
4. Tailor Your Resume to the Specific Employer You’re Applying To
It’s very obvious to an employer when you send them a resume that you’ve sent to a thousand other companies. In addition to being obvious, it’s a sign of laziness.
You may think you’re increasing your chances of getting hired by creating one resume and sending it to hundreds of employers. However, in reality, 60 percent of employers prefer to see an original resume tailored to the specific position being applied for.2
Therefore, by taking the time to tailor your resume to each position you apply for, you effectively increase your chances of being hired.
5. Use Resume Optimization Tools
There are plenty of online tools and services you can use to improve your resume. Using a combination of available data, AI, and human expertise, these tools analyze your resume and suggest changes to increase your chances of being hired for a specific position.
One such service is Jobscan.co. By uploading your resume to their website and pasting the job description of the position you’re applying for, Jobscan can optimize your resume to help make you a top candidate for that specific position.3
Another service is Creddle.io. It provides resume templates to help condense your resume down to one page.4
Your resume is the audition before the audition. It’s the initial impression-maker. Considering how beneficial a good first impression is, making a resume that stands out from the crowd is more important than ever.
The competition may be as stiff as it has ever been. However, by following these tips, you can significantly increase your chances of rising to the top of an employer’s resume stack, making a great impression, and ultimately getting hired.