It’s never a bad idea to keep your resume up-to-date and polished.
Earlier this year, Time Magazine’s online edition provided a thorough review of “what’s in” and “what’s out” in terms of fine-tuning your resume for today’s hiring managers. It’s filled with quick and easy fixes that should take only a few minutes to make, as well as more in-depth ideas and suggestions to make your resume more eye-catching.
“45 Quick Changes That Will Help Your Resume Get Noticed”
TIME.COM > BUSINESS > CAREERS & WORKPLACE
There is certainly a time and a place for a resume overhaul. Taking a couple hours to really clean up your resume is worth doing before you start a job search, or even just once a year as a tune-up. But sometimes, you don’t have that kind of time. Sometimes, you just have a few minutes, and you want to spend them giving your resume a quick polishing-up. And for those times, we made you this list of resume updates that only take a few minutes, but that can make a big difference in making your resume shine.
Choose how much time you have, pick a (mini) project, and get ready for your resume to be that much more eye-catching.
IF YOU HAVE 2 MINUTES
- If it’s not done already, switch the font of your resume to Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Roman—in other words, make sure it’s not hard to read (or stuck in Word’s standard Calibri). Using a common, clean font may not make your resume the prettiest out there, but it will make it more readable (and less likely to be rejected by applicant tracking systems).
- Remove “References Available Upon Request” (if they want references, they’ll ask for them!), and use the extra space to add a detail about your abilities or accomplishments.
- Delete the career objective. That boring boilerplate “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in [blank] industry” is a bit obvious—why else would you be submitting your resume?—and takes up valuable space.
- Spell check (fo’ serious), and correct any mistakes.
- Save your resume as a PDF if it’s in any other format. That way, the formatting won’t get messed up when your resume is opened on a different computer.
- Change the file name from “Resume” to “[First Name] [Last Name] Resume”—it makes things easier for hiring managers and ensures your resume doesn’t get lost in the crowd.
- Remove your address. If you’re not local, recruiters might not look any further. If you are, recruiters may take your commute time into account and turn you down if they think it would be too long.
- In its place, add a link to your LinkedIn profile, as well as any other relevant social media handles (Twitter if it’s professional, Instagram or Flickr if you’re applying to social media or creative positions). Caveat: Never include Facebook, no matter how clean you keep it.
- Don’t want to drop your whole ugly LinkedIn URL onto your resume? (Hint: You shouldn’t.) Create a custom URL to your public profile using simply /yourname (or some similar, simple variation if somebody already has your name). LinkedIn has instructions on its website.
- Make all of your hyperlinks live. Your resume is most likely going to be read on a computer, so making things like your email address, LinkedIn and other social profiles, and personal websites clickable makes it easier for the recruiter to learn more about you.
- Omit any references to your birthdate, marital status, or religion. Since it’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your application (at least in the U.S.), they can’t request it (and offering it makes you look a little clueless).
- If you’re more than three years out of college, remove your graduation year. Recruiters only really want to know that you got a degree, and you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.
- While you’re at it, do a little rearranging, and move education down below your experience. Unless you’re a recent graduate, chances are your last one or two jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job.
- To improve readability, increase the line spacing (also called leading) to at least 120% of the font size. To do this in Word, go to Format and select Paragraph. In the pulldown under Line Spacing, choose Exactly and set the spacing to two points above the size of your font (so, 12 if your font is 10 point).
- Need a little more space to work with? Reduce your top and bottom margins to 0.5″ and your side margins to no less than 0.75″. This will keep your resume clean and readable but give you more room to talk about what you’ve got.
IF YOU HAVE 5 MINUTES
- Remove anything high school-related unless you’re a year out of college or need to bulk up your resume and did something highlyrelevant (and awesome) during your high school years.
- Update your skills section. Add any new skills you’ve gained, and remove anything that is a little dated (nobody wants to hear that you have Microsoft Word experience anymore—they expect it).