This month, we’re kicking off a new series: Resume Makeover. Think Extreme Home Makeover meets the job search.

Every day, we see amazing, potential-filled people with terrible resumes. And we wonder, “If you made these 3-4 tiny changes, your job search would be so much easier! Why  are you making it so much harder for yourself?!”

Which brings us to Resume Makeover. Here’s how it’ll work:

  • Each week, we’ll feature a resume from a real person who asked our mentors to review their resumes.
  • We’ll then makeover their resume top to bottom, both visually and content-wise.
  • When we’re able to get the data, we’ll actually show you how much of a difference it made in their interview rate.
  • And, of course, as with all good makeovers, we’ll definitely have a before-and-after pic!

Our first volunteer is… well, we want this to be at least a little anonymous, so we’ll call him Bobby. Bobby was looking for a Project Management position, but after several weeks of searching on his own hadn’t gotten any replies from employers. When Bobby contacted us, we immediately understood why he was having trouble (no college degree) but also so the potential in Bobby’s unique experiences (FEMA!).

Here’s Bobby’s resume makeover as done by our Erin, one of our amazing TalentAdvocates:

We made 5 key improvements to Bobby’s original resume:

  1. Remove high school education.  Unless you’re looking for a college internship (and arguably even then), recruiters don’t really care which high school you attended. Instead highlight your certifications and include where you received them and when they expire.
  2. Relocate “Technical Skills” section. Would recommend moving it to right after your “Certifications” section because these sorts of industry skills are important and need to be more visible.
  3. Remove the “Overview” section.  Overviews are becoming an outdated practice because they’re often verbose, vague, and add very little value to the resume. Unless you’ve tailored that overview for a specific opportunity at a specific company, e.g. completely customized, you’re better off leaving it out.
  4. Start achievements with strong action verbs. Action verbs imply more ownership and clarity, e.g. provided project management vs project managed; provided cost estimation vs. performed cost estimation.
  5. Flesh out achievements with measurable impact.  Recruiters are looking for more than your job description in your resume — they’re looking to see how you successfully carried out those responsibilities and contributed to company success. Think of the specific tasks you performed and how they created a measurable, positive impact on the company, e.g. Ran cost estimation on company’s equipment, materials and labor which C-level executives used to adjust and reduce company’s overall costs by 11%.

And a few other small adjustments:

  1. Double check everything is filled out properly. Add the proper City and State to the FEMA role (right now it says “FEMA, CITY, STATE” with no location).
  2. Remove “Volunteer Work.” Unless the duties in your volunteer work are directly related to your career goals or if you’re applying for positions within the nonprofit sector, would recommend you get rid of it. Or modify so that your volunteering utilizes or hones skills that’d be an asset in your future job.
  3. Remove the line “References Available Upon Request”.  Similar to the overview, this is seen as an outdated practice. Recruiters will ask for your references if appropriate — they don’t need a written reminder of this on your resume.

We checked in with Bobby the other day. Here’s what he had to say to to his TalentAdvocate, Erin:

I’ve had so much activity since you helped me with my resume! I went from not getting any calls to getting 4 last week. I had 2 phone screening interviews last week,[and] I feel much better about my search now. Thank you! Looking forward to seeing what this week brings.

Want Erin to optimize your resume? Sign up for ApplicationAssistant and ask for Erin!

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