How to Add Real Value to Your Resume

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Improve Your Resume or CV

Writing a good resume requires far more than plastering your skills and work history on a page. You will usually compete against hundreds of other applicants, so if your resume isn’t the best it can be, you probably won’t be considered for the job. The secret to writing a stellar resume is the same as to writing a great novel: Show, don’t tell!

If you don’t prove your qualifications and competencies, hiring managers will overlook your resume and look for what they need elsewhere. That said, what is it they look for? We’ll get to that in a second. 

If you’re unsure whether your resume is good enough, get resume writing help from an expert.

Elements that detract from your resume

Competition for jobs is fierce, especially in online applications, so you have to go above and beyond if you want to eclipse the other candidates. That means not only including elements that strengthen your resume but also avoiding those that detract from your value as an employee. 

Here’s what hiring managers don’t want to see.

1. Buzzwords 

Buzzwords are overused, clichéd words that sound good but essentially mean nothing—think “hard-working,” “self-motivated,” “enthusiastic,” and “organized.” These and many more are common buzzwords that make recruiters cringe. 

Don’t get this wrong—employers definitely like these qualities, but just about everyone says they’re hard-working, self-motivated, enthusiastic, and organized, so a recruiter has no reason to believe you unless you give them something more substantial. Show these qualities instead of stating them—for example, saying that you’ve worked in your field for 15 years proves you are experienced.

2. Fancy words and fluff

You might think using fancy words makes you sound smart, but unless you truly know what you’re doing, it has the opposite effect. It’s far worse to misuse fancy words than go with simple words you do know how to use. Make sure you understand what you’re saying. 

When you’re trying to sound smart, another temptation is to employ overly wordy constructions, but this only makes you look pretentious and demonstrates poor communication skills. Brevity and clarity are key—simply say what you need to in clear terms that the recruiter won’t have to read multiple times to grasp and move on. If you’re trying to make yourself sound smart, you could be hurting your chances because you’re not actually making yourself sound smart. 

3. Money talk

The salary is typically the first thing job seekers look at when evaluating a new employment opportunity. Recruiters are also well aware that no matter how passionate you say you are, you probably wouldn’t do the job without pay. However, leave money out of your resume. You want to convince the hiring manager that you still are genuinely passionate about your career, and talking about money makes it feel like you only care about the paycheck.

How to add value to your resume

Landing a great job requires a resume that goes above and beyond. After all, some of your competitors will have superb resumes, and you need to beat them. 

Here are some of the best ways to make your resume work for you.

1. Prove your qualifications

Sure, you have all the qualifications for the job, but does the hiring manager know that? If you can’t prove your qualifications, they’re effectively useless. In fact, it’s risky to list a qualification you can’t prove because the hiring manager may not believe you and could start thinking you’re dishonest. 

Let’s look at an example.

Bad: Responsible for managing a team of tech support specialists.

Better: Led a tech support team of 12 to adopt a more efficient data-entry approach, increasing productivity by 30%.

While the first sentence simply describes your assignment, the second shows how you thrived in the position and brought concrete value to your company. Now you’ve proven your superb leadership qualities without ever saying the word “leadership.” Use accomplishments to prove all the qualifications you list.

2. Check the little things

A common oversight is not checking a resume for mistakes. Considering that even minor errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting can cost you the job, failure to proofread your resume is a grave mistake. A resume full of careless typos is likely to make the hiring manager think you’re sloppy and lazy; suddenly, your impressive qualifications won’t matter as much. Also, if you say you’re detail-oriented but your resume is peppered with spelling mistakes, you’re definitively disproving your claim  

What’s holding your resume back? Is it full of buzzwords and pretentious phrases that are supposed to make you look smarter? Are you just listing your qualifications, or are you proving them with concrete accomplishments? Have you proofread the document to ensure there are no silly typos? The best way to get a killer resume is to hire a resume-writing expert, who will work with you to blow your competition away.

Improve Your Resume or CV