My friends’ resumes depress me.
They’re talented people and will be assets to any company smart enough to hire them.
But their resumes don’t reflect that. When they asked me to review their resumes, I found myself giving each of them some of the same advice.
That made me think they’re not the only ones facing these issues, so I thought I’d share the advice with you as well.
Here are four things that can instantly improve your resume and the likelihood you get the job you want.
1. Your accomplishments matter more than your responsibilities.
Nobody cares what you were assigned to do in previous jobs, they care what you did with those opportunities.
Your resume should highlight the impact you make and the results you generate.
If you’re a sales person, the revenue you generated from your clients is more important than simply who the clients were.
If you work in social media, it’s not enough to just mention you ran the brand’s Twitter account — focus instead on how you increased the following or engagement of that account.
2. You don’t know what you want and it shows.
Your resume won’t succeed if you don’t have a clear vision for the job you hope it attracts.
Remember, your resume’s purpose is to secure a job you want, not just any job you’re qualified for.
There’s no one “right way” to present your experience. Most likely, you’re qualified for all kinds of different jobs at all kinds of different companies.
But you don’t just want any job, so position yourself to appeal to the exact jobs and companies you want.
To do this, you have to know what you want. You have to think about what you’re looking for in a job and — just as importantly — what the people hiring for those positions want.
Here’s a great exercise to help you figure that out for yourself.
Then adapt your resume to cater directly to the job you want.
3. If you worked on it, take credit for it.
Most projects are group activities. Numerous people play a vital role in the ultimate success of the project.
But when it comes to your resume, if you worked on it, you take credit for it.
Don’t downplay your role in a success just because you feel others had a greater role in it.
Just because you didn’t lead a project, doesn’t mean you weren’t instrumental in its success and doesn’t mean you can’t stake claim to that success on your resume.
If a product launch was a hit, don’t just say you “Assisted with successful product launch,” you can instead claim you “Launched successful product.”
The person reading your resume is looking to see what you’ve done — not what you’ve kinda, sorta, helped to do.
4. Stop trying to fit in.
People spend a LOT of time trying to make sure their resume fits what they think is the “industry standard.”
They want the design to be right, to use the right words to get noticed, and to make sure they don’t do anything that seems unusual.
They want to look professional, which is another way of saying they want to fit in.
Here’s the problem: You get a job offer by standing out and separating yourself from the crowd — not blending into it.
You’re trying to rise above the pack of other qualified applicants and give people a reason to notice you, remember you, and ultimately hire you.
A cookie-cutter resume isn’t going to do that for you.
Stop worrying about trying so hard to fit in and start looking for ways to stand out.
A unique resume isn’t a weakness — it’s your greatest strength.