How to Make a Good Resume

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Good resumes could make or break a job opportunity. If you’re new or returning to the workforce, your resume probably needs a face lift.

Your job experience may be extraordinary, but presenting it in out-of-date formats gives prospective employers the impression you’re behind the times. So let’s get out of the Stone Age and modernize your resume! Do you know what makes a good resume in today’s competitive market? To stand out in a sea of applicants, toss your paper resume into the shredder and get online. A strong digital resume is the first step, but you should also create a professional online presence. Shorter is sweeter when it comes to your resume and conciseness is crucial to hold your prospective employer’s attention. Sprinkle some keywords into the mix and you could be on your way to pursuing the career of your dreams.

Follow These Steps to Update to a Good Resume:

Plug in the Paper Shredder

Paper resumes are for old folks. That’s right. If you’re looking for work in today’s market, you’ll probably be submitting applications and resumes electronically. Sites like and have resume-building tools to help you put your best foot forward. But if you feel confident that you can make your resume pop without any help, make sure the format is visually appealing. You could experiment with different templates, but it’s a good idea to stick to basic black with the font. Most employers will probably only be distracted – not impressed—by jazzy hot pink letters.

Your new digital resume could be much more than an outline of your education and experience. For creative jobs, like web designer and interior decorator, you could strengthen your resume by uploading a portfolio of your best work. Letters of recommendation, writing samples, and even a professional headshot could enhance your candidacy. No matter what you add to your resume, the important thing is that it’s all digital. Employers no longer have a pile of resumes sitting on their desks waiting to be read; today, employers have an email inbox full of resumes to scroll through, scan for keywords and choose from. And you only have one chance to wow them when they click on your email, so step into the digital world and renovate your resume.

Polish your Online Presence

Did you know that your email address is now more important than your physical address? Cutesy email addresses probably won’t get you anywhere when you’re applying for a job. Your safest bet is to use your full name or a portion of your name as your email address. If you have a common name, like Smith, you might want to add in some numbers to personalize. Whatever you do, you should check your email regularly. You never know when an employer might contact you for an interview. In today’s 24/7 work culture, you could receive that magic interview request on Saturday afternoon. Be ready for it!

It’s no secret that many employers run informal background checks online by browsing through social media profiles. Just as important as your social media profile is your LinkedIn page. Don’t worry if you don’t have hundreds of connections on LinkedIn. It’s quality over quantity when it comes to networking, but a minimum of 50 connections is a good benchmark. The important thing is to have a clear photograph of you wearing a big smile and professional attire. Joining groups related to your career objective, receiving skill endorsements from connections, and of course, providing a strong summary of your work experience could also help you stand out. LinkedIn lets you express yourself by listing causes and organizations you care about and supplying a handful of your hobbies. Yet another opportunity to impress your prospective employer!

Shorter is Sweeter

How short should your resume be? This depends on your experience. A recent college graduate may only need a one-page resume. Experienced professionals could expand their resume to two pages but shouldn’t go beyond that length. Most employers spend less than five minutes looking at a resume before deciding whether to follow up with the applicant…or see the applicant to the door. Cut out repetition and wordiness in favor of a clean, to-the-point resume. Rule of thumb: shorter is sweeter. Remember, you may only have five minutes to dazzle them.

Objectives out, Skills in

Resumes, like fashion, go through trends. Not long ago resume experts recommended leading your resume with an objectives paragraph. Today you need to freshen up your resume with a bullet point list of your key skills. Proficient in QuickBooks? Speak Spanish fluently? Let these skills shine at the top of your resume. There’s still room for an objective, just not in a dense, unreadable paragraph. Instead, state your career objective in one direct, powerful sentence designed to catch the employer’s eye. Good resumes are both informative and efficient.

Pre-screening secrets

Online job applications often generate thousands of respondents, ranging widely in ability. Many employers use prescreening software to target keywords and phrases in applicants’ resumes. If you’re applying for a sales job, your potential employer may be scanning for key phrases like “customer service,” “exceeding sales quotas” and “relationship building.” Make sure you know your field and the keywords that employers search for. Because here’s the catch: before the employer even sees your resume, the prescreening software weeds out applicants who don’t have the right keywords. Your knowledge of pre-screening practices could determine whether an employer sees your resume at all.

Today, good resumes require technological savvy and attention to detail. If you know how to maximize your digital exposure, then you know what makes a good resume.