There is a ton of advice out there on how to craft the perfect resume, and it can be overwhelming.
Industries are constantly changing, and keeping up with trends isn’t always easy. Before you apply for your dream job, you might be worried about your resume.
Will I stand out from other candidates? Is this what recruiters are looking for? How do I know if my resume is good?
We’ve created a list of 8 resume hacks to help make your resume the best it can be.
Use these hacks when writing your resume and you’ll be one step closer to getting that interview and accepting an offer.
Use a resume builder
Using a resume builder is the first resume hack on our list for good reason. Not everyone has an eye for design, and letting a resume builder do the work for you will make the process a whole lot easier.
The layout and format of your resume matter a lot. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes, often from candidates who all have similar skills and qualifications. Your resume has to catch their attention.
If your resume has a confusing layout, hard-to-read fonts, and overwhelming colors, they’re not going to waste any more time on it. That resume is going right in the trash.
Creativity isn’t quite your thing? Afraid of using a font that isn’t Times New Roman? That’s why using a resume builder is a great resume hack!
Whether you’re a design pro or completely new to it, a resume builder takes the guesswork out of it so you can make a great-looking resume with ease.
Our resume builder will guide you through the process and assist you in creating a visually stunning resume you can be proud of. Choose from our collection of customizable templates and find the design that’s right for you.
Identify keywords in the job description
Keywords in today’s technology-driven world are crucial in every industry. They make it easy for hiring managers, and everyone else, to find what they’re looking for.
Depending on the size and scope of the company, it is likely they will use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to sort through applicants. This is software that scans resumes for specific keywords and filters out the ones that aren’t the right fit.
If your resume is lacking the proper keywords, it may not even make it in front of a real human being!
If you want to stand out as the best candidate for the job, you need to at least make it past the initial scan.
So how can you be sure you’re using the right keywords?
The best way to do this is to tailor your resume to match the job description for the role you’re applying for. Read the description closely and pick out keywords and phrases.
Be careful not to just copy and paste pieces of the description into your own resume. Recruiters and hiring managers will spot this right away as lazy and disingenuous.
You should use keywords as a resume hack, but only when appropriate and relevant.
Use action verbs
When writing a great resume, it’s important not to use boring, passive language. Hiring managers want to know that you put in the work and achieve results.
Accomplish this by using action verbs throughout your resume, especially in your work experience section.
Consider the difference between the following two statements.
- Hard working manager with experience hiring, scheduling, and training staff
- Maximized staff scheduling procedures by implementing an automated scheduling system and was rated most productive manager in the district in 2021
Basic terms like “hard working” are generic and represent the bare minimum. Hiring managers will expect their staff to work hard.
The first statement also doesn’t mention any achievements or successes. Your resume should speak on things you have achieved, not just your roles and responsibilities.
The second statement uses action verbs like “maximized” and “implementing” to describe a specific achievement. Hiring managers want to know what kind of impact you will have on company success.
It may be tempting to reuse the same few action verbs over and over again, but try not to repeat words. You want your resume to highlight your skills and make the best use of space on the page.
Write with eye-tracking in mind
Writing a resume according to eye-tracking data is a great resume hack. A study conducted by Ladders found that the top-performing resumes took advantage of F-pattern and E-pattern reading tendencies.
Essentially, this means that your eyes want to follow a natural flow when reading. Resumes formatted to fit this pattern are more likely to perform well.
Recruiters have tons of resumes to get through in addition to yours. They want to get all the key information about you as quickly as possible.
Help make their job easier by writing a resume they can read fast. Use bold titles and bulleted lists that draw the eye down the page. This will catch recruiters’ attention in the right way.
As mentioned above, using a resume builder can be a big help in achieving this. Taking a few steps to create a clean, simple layout will go a long way.
Research your target company
If you’re following these resume hacks in order, you’ve already studied the job description for your target job. Take it one step further and research the company as a whole.
This might sound like a lot of groundwork for one job application, but it will make a big difference when standing out among other qualified candidates.
Look into your target company and learn their values. Do you share the same mission? Where do your objectives overlap?
Hiring managers want to hire employees who are dedicated to the mission and want to achieve the same goals.
Additionally, find out what problems your target company is having. How can you provide solutions? What skills do you have that they need?
Show recruiters and hiring managers that you’re the right candidate for the job.
This resume hack will also show that you’ve done your research and are willing to put in the work. This initiative and dedication can be what separates you from other qualified candidates.
Get certified in your field
Specific courses and certifications will vary by industry, but a certificate in a specific skill can be what makes a good candidate into a great candidate.
This is especially relevant for candidates looking to change careers or enter an industry right out of school. If you’re lacking experience in a specific area, taking a certification course will bring your resume up a level.
It can also improve your chances of making it through ATS if your certification contains a keyword the company is looking for.
Adding certifications to your resume shows that you’re dedicated to your career goals and committed to growth. Companies want employees who will grow in their role and impact business in the process.
Be sure to do some research on your industry and find out what certifications are in demand for the positions you’re applying to.
Show, don’t tell
Today’s market is extremely competitive. Unfortunately, it is for this reason that recruiters know some people will lie on their resume just to get the job.
Never lie on your resume!
Not only will those lies come back to haunt you later, it’s just plain dishonest and unethical.
When recruiters read your resume, they aren’t just going to take your word for it. Claiming to be “results-driven” and “goal-oriented” are empty words without evidence.
Use real examples with measurable results to back up your claims. Cite actual achievements and awards that can be validated with evidence.
Consider the following two examples.
The first statement offers nothing of value about the candidate. “Success” can be open to interpretation and you want to be clear about all your experience.
The second statement is a major improvement. It provides evidence of measurable success and cites a certification that can be proven.
The interview stage will involve detailed questions about your work history and possibly even a skills assessment, depending on your industry. Be clear in your achievements so hiring managers understand your worth.
Make it represent you!
This last resume hack may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to remember. It can be easy to lose sight of yourself when you focus too much on fitting the role.
In addition to the qualifications and necessary skills, businesses want to hire employees who will fit into their company culture. Don’t be afraid to let your personality show!
Of course, your resume should always be professional. But a little creativity and originality can stand out in a big way.
Consider adding additional sections to your resume that show another side of yourself. Things like volunteer experience, languages, and even hobbies may be worth including if they are relevant to the role.
In the end, you want to have a resume that accurately represents you. Your skills and experience, yes, but also who you are.
Don’t just create a generic resume that will blend in with all the others. Show recruiters what makes you unique and why you’re the right fit for the role!
Final thoughts on resume hacks
Use a resume builder to make your life easier and create a great resume that is visually stunning and easy to read.
Identify keywords in your target job description and use them in your resume to ensure it survives ATS and makes it in front of recruiters.
Always use action verbs on your resume to describe your achievements and highlight your past accomplishments.
Format your resume with eye-tracking in mind so that it is easy to read for recruiters and hiring managers.
Show your target company that you’re serious about the role by researching their needs and showing how you can provide solutions.
Getting a certification in your field can be the element that puts you ahead of the rest and equips you with crucial skills.
Provide evidence and measurable results when highlighting achievements so recruiters can see how you’ve brought success to previous roles.
Write a great resume that is a clear and accurate representation of you!