Extreme Makeover: Resume Edition

By: Jillian Kinsey, RPW Founder

Is Your Resume Aiding Your Job Search?

Do you ever wonder how your resume feels while waiting anxiously in a stack with hundreds of others? Does it cower from years of neglect? Does it flaunt its numerous pages with false bravado and a revolting color scheme?

Yes, I’m personifying your resume. You should too.

Think about it, job searchers. Day after agonizing day, you send this crucial piece of paper out into the universe, hoping it will convince an employer to give you that coveted interview slot.

If your resume were a person – a paper-winged messenger sent to inform the masses of the professional powerhouse that you are – would you want it to be a slovenly, old monstrosity of a creature or a slick and savvy, head-turning Hermes? I hope you’d choose the latter.

Studies show that there are about 250 applicants for every corporate job. With stacks that high, employers rarely spend more than 7 seconds glancing at each resume. So how do you convince them to keep reading?

You need a sleek design to instantly capture their attention. It has to be highly professional, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to skim. It shouldn’t overwhelm the reader with paragraphs of redundancy (I’m looking at you, Sally Six Pages).

If I sound harsh, it’s because I care. As the founder of Red Pen Wench, I write resumes for a living. I know how essential strong career materials are in the current job market, which is more competitive than ever with the staggering number of professionals unemployed or furloughed due to COVID-19.

If you want the chance to don your interview best, first dress your resume for success. Don’t send your trusty messenger into Corporate America looking shabby. Here are a few quick tips to enhance it and improve your job search:

  1. Choose a simple font like Times New Roman, Georgia, Arial, Avenir, or Helvetica. (No one over the age of eight should use Comic Sans. Don’t even think about it.)
  2. Consider adding a tasteful pop of color to your resume to add some personality and earn a few extra seconds of attention.
  3. Highlight what makes you unique with separate sections featuring awards you’ve won, professional development courses you’ve taken, software programs you’ve mastered, languages you speak, etc.
  4. If possible, keep your resume to one page so an employer or recruiter can quickly discover what’s most important. (There are obviously exceptions for executives with 15+ years of experience or professionals in healthcare, law enforcement, government, etc.)
  5. Start your resume with a strong and snappy summary right at the top to introduce who you are as a professional in three to five sentences. If your career were a movie, your summary would be the trailer that instantly captures an audience’s interest.

Before you send one more sad, sloppy, or rambling resume into cyberspace, give your papery pal a little TLC so that the next time it lands in a stack, it’s ready to rise to the top.

Need some assistance with your job search? Our team here at Red Pen Wench would be happy to help.

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