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How to Improve Your Resume in Under 20 Minutes

4/3/2012 1:19:11 PM

How to Improve Your Resume in Under 20 Minutes By Anish Majumdar, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Many jobseekers make the mistake of assuming, upon applying for positions and not hearing anything back, that they’re simply not a good fit. As a Career Expert and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) who’s worked with top-level professionals, I can tell you that this is rarely the case.

Most of the time, the problem stems from not truly understanding how a resume gets evaluated in today’s competitive marketplace and making the proper adjustments.

Here are 3 steps you can implement, taking less than 20 minutes total, that will result in a markedly improved resume and more job interviews:

Step 1: Insert the Exact Title of the Job You’re Applying For At the Start of the Resume
Time Required: 5 Minutes or Less

Jobseekers will often try to create an all-encompassing "title" for themselves to begin the resume. What they don’t realize is that this simple little action accounts for an astonishing number of rejected applications!

Often times, the first pair of "eyes" scanning your document will be an Applicant Tracking System such as Taleo or Kenexa. Unless your resume contains the EXACT TITLE of the job you’re applying for, in boldface, right at the top of the resume, there’s no way for the software to figure out what you want. Without this information, it will tend to either mis-file or outright reject your candidacy.

Step 2: Make Sure the First Position Listed On Your Resume Is Relevant To The Type of Job You’re Seeking
Time Required: 5 Minutes or Less

First impressions are critical to a successful resume, particularly when a typical recruiter or hiring agent spends less than 30 seconds on a first pass. Unless the first job he or she sees in the “Professional Experience” section is DIRECTLY RELEVANT to what you’re seeking, it will often be rejected. Luckily, there is a quick fix for this.

If the first job listed on your resume is non-relevant, replace it with a 2-3 line “Career Note” that briefly outlines what you did and provides the name of your employer and dates employed. Then immediately move on to a relevant position and describe responsibilities and accomplishments in greater detail.

Step 3: Strip Away All Extraneous Formatting, Logos and Graphics
Time Required: 10 Minutes or Less

While you may think that adding visual flourishes to your resume is an easy way to stand out, the opposite is actually true. Every extra logo, graphic or bit of extraneous formatting is an error waiting to happen when your document is scanned by Applicant Tracking Systems. Furthermore, visual flourishes tend to prevent most recruiters and hiring agents from quickly assessing your value as a candidate (not a good thing). Be ruthless when it comes to simplifying your resume and remember: if it doesn’t succeed based on CONTENT, it doesn’t succeed period.

About the Author

Anish Majumdar, CPRW is a Career and Owner at 98% of clients report and increase in interviews within 30 days, and all work comes backed by a 110% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee. Submit your resume for a free critique today!

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