How to Go About Spring-Cleaning Your Resume

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When you were growing up, you probably helped your mother clean the house each spring. You took everything down and polished each decoration and figurine until everything sparkled. After you got the place clean, there was a sense of sprightliness you didn’t normally experience. Everything felt clean, and you felt more alive.

This sense of cleanliness and rejuvenation doesn’t have to be reserved for your home. Spring cleaning is for more than just houses—it’s also for your resume. As spring rolls around, so does a breath of new life, and sometimes, new life entails a new job. It’s a time to remodel, reinvent, and reimagine your career. Are you happy where you are, or could you find some place better? It’s time to rethink what you’ve been doing all year and make a fresh start. 

As you browse your resume, consider how you can freshen it up. Too busy spring-cleaning your house to look at your resume? No problem! Consult a resume expert to have it cleaned up while you work on the house.

Start with your words

Evaluate each word to see if you have used the best one possible in each case. You’ll want to incorporate terminology that’s common in the field, so if you’re switching careers, make sure you know the lingo. 

It’s also important to use the right keywords for the job because if you don’t, you’re unlikely to get past the software most companies use to filter out irrelevant applications. Also, resist the temptation to show off with fancy words you scooped up from the thesaurus—at best, you’ll appear pretentious, and at worst, you’ll look like a clueless fool if you misuse them.

It’s not just individual words, either—you also have to consider what you’re saying. Your goal is to convince the hiring manager of your skills, not just tell them about your skills. For example, you could say, “Responsible for supervising a team,” but that doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything—it just notifies them of what you do. You’re responsible for this team, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any good at the job. Instead, prove your skills by saying something like, “Supervised a team of 15 employees to create a new software program.” Now, you’ve shown the hiring manager more precisely what you did during your time as a supervisor and what the outcome of your labor was. 

As you begin cleaning up your word choices, look at the description of the job you’re applying for and use keywords from it. After all, if your resume is so generic that it could work equally well for 50 other jobs, it’s not going to get you hired. As long as you’re being honest, using keywords also shows the hiring manager that you have the necessary qualifications. If you use keywords throughout your resume, it’ll help put you ahead of other applicants. Go through each word in your resume and remove any that detract from its sparkle. 

Continue with your descriptions

As you evaluate your words, you’ll construct different descriptions for your work experience, education, and other sections. Then, it’s time to focus on the descriptions as a whole. Does every word on your resume have an important reason to be there? Work on being concise in your descriptions. Your resume should never be more than two pages, so if you’re struggling to keep it under that limit, check where you’re being too wordy. 

If you ramble, the hiring manager won’t hesitate to toss your resume in the trash—it’s not like good companies these days have any shortage of job applicants. Don’t waste the hiring manager’s time (or yours) by offering pointless information. Tell them succinctly what they want to know.

Finish with the extras

When you clean, you start with the basics and then move on to the finer pieces to create that sparkly look. The same applies to your resume. Once you go through all the text, you can put the finishing touches that add extra value. Clean your resume even more by finding ways to impress the hiring manager. Think, “How can I stand out from the other applicants?” Research the company and find out who will be looking at your resume. This can go a long way during the hiring process, not just because it allows you to better tailor your resume to the needs, goals, and culture of the company but also because it gives you a chance to truly evaluate whether you’d enjoy working there. Don’t be afraid to take chances with your resume. Obviously, don’t go too crazy, but add a little pizzazz to impress the hiring manager. 

Spring cleaning can be tedious, but it’s also one of the most rewarding endeavors. You begin to see all the hard work pay off and end up with results you’re proud of. Spend some time spring-cleaning your resume to turn it into a polished product that fills you with pride and helps you land your dream job. If you need help with this, reach out to a resume expert!

Improve Your Resume or CV