10 Steps for Taking Your Resume from Bland to Bold!

Our resumes are the first impression a potential employer or connection may have of us. However, when a situation requiring a resume presents itself, most people struggle to decide how to format their resume, what information to include, and how to word their experiences in a way that showcases their skills and talents. Following just a few simple guidelines can take a resume from bland to bold, and help get you get the interview!

  1. Keep a resume master list with any information you have ever included on your resume, such as former employment positions and the tasks you performed, projects you have worked on, volunteering you have done, and any other important details. Then, tailor your resume from this list in order to specialize it for a specific job or situation. Think of your resume as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job!
  2. List your previous positions in reverse chronological order with your most recent experience listed first. Include the dates of each position so hiring managers can gauge your experience in each area.
  3. Use a basic but modern font like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. Use a font size between 10 and 12 to increase readability. Make sure all of your bullet points match. Use periods at the end of your bulleted points or don’t, but choose one and be consistent! Use graphics and icons with caution – there is a fine line between standing out with taste and getting tacky. Instead, try spicing up your resume with a small pop of color.
  4. Avoid overused words that no longer carry much meaning, such as “detail-oriented,” “multi-tasker,” “team player,” or “hard worker.”
  5. Show personality through an “Interests” section, but only include interests that are relevant to the position or match the “work culture” of the employer. For instance, if you’re applying for a music-related job and you play an instrument, share that. If you are applying to a buttoned-up accounting firm, you might want to skip this section altogether.
  6. Identify and quantify your achievements in a role, don’t just include a simple recitation of your job description.
  7. Proofread, proofread, proofread! Save your resume as a PDF to ensure that formatting doesn’t get altered along the way. Try to keep it at a maximum of two pages.
  8. Include your name in the file name (ex. “John Smith Resume” instead of “Resume”).
  9. Continue to update your resume master list, even when you aren’t looking for a job. That way you have it at the ready if your current situation changes.
  10. Don’t forget to update your contact information anytime you move, change phone numbers, or switch email addresses.

Looking for a career change? Now that your resume’s ready, check out the ABN Career Center. You might just find your dream job!