Seven Tips to Take Your Resume to the Next Level

By Sheeva Azma

According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14.7% of the population is unemployed. Many people are finding themselves without a job due to furloughs and layoffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Use these seven #resume editing tips to improve your chances of gainful employment.

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Dream big — creating a great resume can help you land your dream job.

Think of your resume as the paper equivalent of an ‘elevator pitch’ — according to the website Glassdoor, the average hiring manager spends a mere six seconds skimming each resume. That’s not a lot of time to make your case, so you have to be able to do it well.

Writing a resume can be a daunting task.  It can be difficult to summarize your work experience in an effective way that captures attention. However, effective resume writing can be one of the most important parts of your job search.

Here are seven simple tips from Fancy Comma, LLC that you can use right now to make your resume more compelling, easy-to-read, and eye-catching.

1. Use action verbs.  

Your resume should not be boring.  It should be exciting and full of action verbs.  Do not use passive voice on your resume.  Let’s look at the following examples to illustrate this point.

Bad: “Utilization of in-depth Excel skills”

Better: “Analyzed data in Microsoft Excel.”

Check out this list of 185 action verbs that will make your resume come to life.

2. Don’t just list everything you’ve ever done.

Make all text on your resume serve a purpose. The truth is that your resume is not meant to be a laundry list of things you have done in your life.  It is meant to describe specific skills and achievements.  List only your most important roles and responsibilities.  You don’t have much space to make your case, so you want to showcase only your most relevant and impressive achievements.

3. Think outside the box.

Remember that just because you do not have experience in a particular industry, that doesn’t mean you do not have transferable skills that could help you succeed in that industry.  You simply have to make the case that you have the skills that the employer needs.  

Leadership, data analysis, communication skills (both written and oral), and interpersonal skills can apply to a wide variety of industries.  It may take a bit of creativity in terms of portraying your relevant skills, but the extra thought and effort will be more than worth it as it will increase your chances of landing a job interview and, ultimately, being hired.

4. Figure out what employers are looking for.

It doesn’t hurt to do some research on the types of skills and experience employers are looking for in the process of writing your resume.  You may wish to look at job descriptions of positions to which you wish to apply, and then tailor your resume items to those particular skills.  Here are a few qualities employers are looking for as compiled by

  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Work ethic
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Independence
  • Ambition
  • Dependability
  • Being a fast learner

You can read the full list of 14 common qualities employers look for in candidates here.

Depending on your field, employers may also require specific skills unique to your industry. Make sure to address those skills unique to your field in your resume.

5. Write resume item descriptions in terms of skills you wish to highlight.

Your resume includes both a list of places you have worked and descriptions of what you did in each position. Some people simply list everything they have done at each job and call it a day, but this approach is not effective. The goal in writing your resume is to make a case for why you should be hired. You should not expect hiring managers to do this work for you. So, be specific and spell out relevant skills and experiences.

You may want to consider the following two-step approach to writing resume item descriptions. First, think about what you gained from the job. What skill sets did you build in each position? What experiences did you gain? Prioritize skills and experiences that would be attractive to future employers. Then, use active verbs (Tip #1) to describe your past work in terms of those relevant skills and experiences.

For example, if you worked at your office’s front desk, you can describe this experience in terms of the interpersonal and organizational skills you used or obtained from that experience, rather than listing everything you did there (greeting people, sorting mail, answering phones, etc.).

Take stock of your transferable skills, including what are called “soft skills” — things like communication and interpersonal skills — versus “hard skills” — such as specific technical proficiencies. Both soft and hard skills can be transferable to new industries, which can be helpful in your resume writing endeavors.

6. When in doubt, keep it simple.

As we’ve discussed, hiring managers do not have a lot of time, so they may not have time to read a very long or complicated resume.  Keep things simple.  Value quality over quantity in your resume.  You will have the opportunity to talk about your skills and experience in more detail in an interview.

7. Proofread and edit.

Nothing is worse than a great resume that has so many typographical errors that it is difficult to read.  Make sure your resume is error-free in terms of spelling, grammar, etc.  Ask a friend or family member to read over your resume before you submit it, or enlist the help of a professional editor.

The Bottom Line

In writing your resume, consider both what you can bring to the table (that is, your skills and experience) and what employers may be looking for in the ideal candidate. Your resume should summarize your past work experience in a simple but effective manner, highlighting relevant skills and experiences that are attractive to employers.

The time you invest in improving your resume will help employers better see why you are a good fit for their organization. That means they will be more likely to call you in for an interview. So, while time-consuming, this approach can reap great rewards.

Hiring a resume writer or resume editor can be helpful in your job search. Fancy Comma, LLC offers resume writing services. Our talented writers can work with you to improve your resume and cover letter to help you can gain a competitive edge in the job marketplace.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help you with your job search.


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