5 Quick Tips to Up Your Resume Game

Olumide Aderinwale
5 min

Most resume advice focuses on the format. While that’s crucial (here’s a template you can use), content is what’s most important. In this article, we will delve into five crucial tips that will help you create a compelling representation of your experience, effectively capturing the attention of employers.

1. Ditch the Professional Summary for Accomplishments

While many resume templates include a professional summary, many recruiters indicate they don’t read it. Unless you are changing careers and need to explain your diverse experience, consider replacing this section with a list of 3-5 significant career accomplishments that are relevant to the role. This immediately captures the recruiter's attention and highlights your value as a top candidate.

Compare the two examples below. Which one is easier to read?

2. Enhance Each Experience with A Company Summary

Unless you’ve only worked at brand-name companies, the recruiter may not be familiar with the places you’ve worked. Help them better understand your background by adding 2 sentences under the company name to give some context about the company and your role there.

3. Eliminate Generic Statements

Elevate how you present your work experience by steering clear of vague statements. Instead, use contextual statements that provide specific details about your accomplishments. This will help the reader truly understand your contributions, and potentially get them excited to want to learn more in an interview. See a side-by-side comparison of identical experiences below to see the power of contextualisation:

Try to contextualise your experience in terms of Scope, Team, Time and Money as shown in the image below.

4. Less is more, include the right level of context

What most resumes get wrong is focusing on things that employers do not care about. They primarily care about the quality of your work experience, and this should be the nucleus of your resume. Highlight 5-8 bullets of measurable accomplishments at each company. Also consider removing certifications, volunteering, and extracurricular activities if they take away from highlighting your work experience.

5. Nail the Basics

Ensuring your resume stands out also requires nailing the fundamentals. These elements are non-negotiable and form the bedrock of a compelling resume:

  • Impeccable grammar with zero typos. This is obvious stuff, but recruiters can be unforgiving about small grammatical errors, because they may signal a lack of attention to detail. Proofread your resume thoroughly, and consider having someone else review it.
  • One page. Unless you have more than 5 years of relevant experience, try to keep your resume to a single page.
  • Reader-friendly layout. Given that recruiters spend mere seconds reviewing resumes, use an easily skimmable layout. Present information in bullet points, keeping them concise (1-2 lines) for quick readability.
  • Pdf format. Unless specifically requested, share your resume only in PDF format to ensure consistent formatting across different platforms.

TL;DR: 5 Quick Tips to Up Your Resume Game

  1. Swap out the Professional Summary for a list of Accomplishments. Replace it with 3-5 major career wins directly relevant to the role you're aiming for.
  2. Include a company summary under each experience. Add a 2-sentence summary under each company to provide context to your previous experience.
  3. Avoid generic statements and list out your work accomplishments using specific statements that help the reader better understand them.
  4. Include the right level of context. Highlight the most relevant information to the kinds of roles you’re excited about.
  5. Nail the basics. Ensure your resume maintains impeccable grammar and a format that's easy to skim through.

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