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25 Best Resume Tips for 2014

25 Best Resume Tips for 2014

The job search game is becoming increasingly competitive, and it isn’t going to change in 2014. If anything, it’s going to up the ante. Forget sitting around all day clicking APPLY to find a job. And while you’re at it, you can throw all those old resume rules right out the window. To help kick off your job search in the new year, I’ve constructed this expert list of my 25 best resume tips for 2014.

Create a master resume and commit to keeping it updated. When you suddenly find yourself job searching, and you sit down to write your resume, it can be awfully difficult to recall all the numbers, figures, accomplishments, and successes you’ve had over the last 10-15 years of your career. It’s much easier to keep a log of it as it happens. Sure, it might take a couple of minutes a month to jot down your most notable achievements, and to keep a log of them; but when you sit down to write your resume or work with a professional resume writer, you’ll thank me.

Consider creating a social media resume. Check out www.careercloud.com and review the information about social media resumes there. When you’re looking for a way to build, authenticate, and deliver your professional brand, this is one impressive and modern way to do it. Are you a do-it-yourselfer? If so, check out this step-by-step method for creating your own social media resume: http://mashable.com/2009/01/13/social-media-resume/

While you’re in your creative mode, think about an infographic resume. Would an infographic resume benefit you? The concept has been around for a couple of years, but it hasn’t been widely used by job search candidates. I, however, think it could be an interesting way to stand out from the crowd. Especially if you’re in a field where this type of resume would be appropriate to use. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for more conservative types of positions such as banker or lawyer.

Thinking outside the box … Since we’re already there, why don’t we jump out a little further. Your resume on Facebook? I found this interesting article that lists 10 trendsetting ways to create a resume. I figured I’d let you read the article yourself, rather than wasting valuable real estate here on the blog. One of the more interesting is #10—the ability to create a timeline resume within Facebook. Hmmmmm … http://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2012/04/07/10-new-ways-to-build-a-kick-ass-digital-resume/

Get rid of the objective statement. I’m begging you, please … let it go!  Get a kick-butt branding statement and laser-focused career summary instead. That objective isn’t doing you any favors.

Bring on the numbers. Going back to keeping a master resume … if you have one, adding in numbers should be no big deal. If you don’t, then start tracking those numbers now!  Quantify everything!  If you led a team, tell me how many people were on the team; if you saved money, tell me how much you saved. Grew revenue?  By how much?  Managed a budget?  Tell me how big the budget was. Always include a number!

Focus on facts and figures. Making generalized statements within your resume accomplishes absolutely nothing except taking up space. Give me something specific and tangible about your career history.

Remove two words from your resume: success and results. For more information on why and what to replace them with, check out this article: http://www.greatresumesfast.com/blog/2013/10/08/two-useless-words-every-job-seeker-loves-to-use-on-their-resume/

Answer three simple questions. Three simple questions will help you write a more concise and polished resume. Here’s a link to those three questions and how to incorporate them into your resume: http://www.greatresumesfast.com/blog/2013/12/03/3-simple-questions-to-help-you-write-a-better-resume/

Add that LinkedIn profile URL. Employers will go to LinkedIn to find out more about you (90% of them anyway). And that’s a high enough percentage for me. Make it easy for them to find you (and make sure they’re finding the right YOU on LinkedIn) by including your personal LinkedIn profile URL on your resume.

Needs-based resume please! Long gone are the days of telling employers what you want and need (ahem … that objective statement that had BETTER NOT be on your resume!). Instead, review the job ad to see what the employer’s greatest needs are, and make sure your resume addresses your ability to meet those needs.

Give your career summary impact. Use numbers, company names, and figures. It may be a “summary”, but just because it’s a summary doesn’t mean it has to be bland and boring and sound like everyone else’s. Use things unique to you to create more depth and impact in your career summary. High-profile companies or clients that you can name—include those. Managed lots of projects or big budgets?  Use those numbers and quantify in your summary.

Cut the fluff. Oh, how I cannot stand resume fluff. Cut the content to the lowest common denominator. Make your words work for you—and deliver the most bang for your buck. In other words, cut out the “team player”, “excellent communication/written skills”, and all those other overused terms and phrases that find their way into so many resumes.

Use keywords in all the right places. Don’t be afraid to put keywords in your headline, branding statement, career summary, and work experience sections. Keywords aren’t just for the bulleted “key skills and core competencies” section of the resume.

Call out those accomplishments. Have a career accomplishment or success you’re particularly proud of?  Create a key accomplishments section on your resume in the top third to really draw attention to the results you’re most proud of.

Brand yourself. If you don’t, the employer will. Here’s a basic-level crash course in personal branding: http://mashable.com/2009/02/05/personal-branding-101/

Incorporate YOU. I see so many resumes that contain generic and vague statements. I cannot harp on this enough: Get rid of all the general terms and phrases—especially within your career summary. If you get six seconds to capture the hiring manager’s attention and stand out from the other applicants, and the first five lines of your resume read exactly the same as everyone else’s, then you’ve done absolutely nothing to set yourself apart.

RUN from resume templates. Templates are cookie-cutter resumes that thousands of other job seekers are using. Again, not the best strategy when you’re trying to differentiate yourself from the others.

Include a specific position title. At the top of your resume, include the specific position title you’re applying for, and any relevant keywords. This creates the connection between your experience and the opening.

Commit to customization.  Make a commitment to customize your resume as you apply for each opening. It could be as simple as changing the position title or job target at the top of your resume to removing irrelevant keywords. The more you tailor the resume to the specific position, the better your chances are of it getting you an interview.

Reflect on past achievements. Take time to think about what you’ve accomplished in your career, and quantify it when and where possible. To help jog your memory, think about challenges you’ve faced during your tenure, how you addressed those challenges, and what the outcomes were. Typically, this great exercise will help you to think of two or three key successes that will work well on your resume.

Put those achievements in context. Once you’ve thought about those great achievements, put them in the context of how they relate to the position you’re applying for. Make the connection between what you can bring to the table (your past wins) and what the employer needs right now.

Nix the common resume myths. The false notion that a resume can be only one page long or no one will bother to read it is a myth. So are the misconceptions that you need to include an objective statement, that you have to include every job you’ve ever had—even back to the ’80s, and that you have to have a degree to get a job. What’s not a myth is that hiring managers spend only about six seconds on their initial resume reviews; so needless to say, the top third of your resume had better look really great.

Proofread the heck out of it—and then get three friends to do the same. Don’t ask them for their opinions about what it should look or sound like—unless they’re a recruiter or a resume expert. Just ask them to review it for any typos or spelling errors that you may have overlooked. Nothing gets your resume thrown in the trash can more quickly than a bunch of errors because you neglected to proofread.

**An extra tip from one of the great writers on my team, Daryn Edelman, CPRW**

Your Resume is Not an Autobiography. One of the most common mistakes people make who write their own resume is that they view their resume as an autobiography.  A resume must be viewed as a marketing document; with you being the product. – Daryn Edelman, CPRW

Wordle it! Ever heard of www.wordle.net?  It’s this great word cloud creator, and you can use it to find the most common words contained within some specific text. I suggest you use Wordle to check job ads and see the keywords that pop up most often. Then use this information to ensure your resume has the right keywords for the position.

Additionally, you could use Wordle on your resume and LinkedIn profile. This serves to ensure you have the right keywords within your resume and your LinkedIn profile. I’ll give you an example: I’ve optimized my LinkedIn profile for the keyword “executive resume writer”. Below is a word cloud that came up when I input the text from my LinkedIn profile to test it out:

LinkedIn summary wordle

I hope that you can see how valuable this tool is for providing you with a visualization of the keyword optimization of your resume and LinkedIn profile—and for discovering the most important keywords within a job ad.

While not an all-inclusive list of resume tips (and I actually provided 26 – one to grow on in 2014), my attempt here was to compile a list of the resume tips I felt were most important going in to 2014. Don’t feel as though you have to tackle all of these tips at once. Choose a few of them, and work on them—and after you’ve addressed those, move on to others.

WANT TO WORK WITH US? If you would like us to personally work on your resume—and dramatically improve its response rate—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at http://www.greatresumesfast.com and contact us for more information if you have any questions.

CHECK OUT OTHER RELATED ARTICLES:

15 Expert Job Search Tips for 2014

Top 9 Cover Letter Tips for 2014

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. Leveraging more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, Jessica's innovative and brand-driven resume development strategies have secured a 99.6% interview-winning success rate for her clients. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted numerous times throughout CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, Monster.com, Local Job Network Radio, International Business Times, and more.
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  1. January 2nd, 2014 at 12:26 | #1

    Great tips Jessica, One point I would like to add is about resume design – it is important to ensure that the resume is easily readable and nicely formatted. A bit of design polish can really make a resume stand out.

  1. December 8th, 2013 at 14:46 | #1
  2. December 11th, 2013 at 22:04 | #2
  3. December 16th, 2013 at 11:42 | #3
  4. December 30th, 2013 at 10:22 | #4
  5. December 31st, 2013 at 07:49 | #5
  6. January 10th, 2014 at 10:39 | #6

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