Improve Your Resume In Just 10 Minutes

Improve Your Resume In Just 10 Minutes

Here is the thing about job hunting these days – in the competitive job market, it is not enough to have the skills to actually do the job – you need skills to actually get the job!

Bearing this in mind, you really need to put your best foot forward, right? Supplying information that only serves in your favour and supports your claim to the position is critical to captivating the interest of your potential employer, with the ultimate goal of securing an interview. After all, this is what your resume is designed to achieve! If you do well at interview and land yourself the coveted job offer, then your resume (along with your powers of persuasion and negotiation) may also become a tool to support you in leveraging better pay and conditions then perhaps those initially offered.

Today we’re going to talk about how to improve your resume in 10 minutes or less.

Resume writing is an involved process at the intersection of art and science; a blend of imaginative communication, creative sales and self-marketing technique meeting with the technical know-how of formulating a keyword optimised document, that needs to read equally as well to the human eye as it does to the resume scanning (ATS) program. The bones of a strong sales tool (your resume!) lay in carefully crafting and providing information that only builds your business case as the must-have candidate, and omitting information that is irrelevant, and in some cases potentially damaging to your application.

Here are 10 pieces of information you can delete from your resume today to instantly improve it.

  1. Birthdate or Age
  2. Marital or Family Status
  3. Health or Smoking Status
  4. Your Photograph

If your resume lists any of these details – DELETE them immediately!

Professionals in charge of or participating in the recruitment and hiring process are bound by anti-discrimination and equal employment opportunity laws. Therefore, only information pertaining to your match to the job requirements and assessable merits to actually perform the requirements of the job can and should be used to make a judgement on your application. Your sensitive information should not be used to influence your ability to do the job, so why jeopardise this by sharing this unnecessary information? Recruitment and Hiring Managers will also be grateful for not being burdened by the liability of having this knowledge.

  1. Your address (optional)

It’s fair to say that quite a lot of personal information is divulged in a resume – your contact details, your education and work history for example. To protect your private and personal information further (against identity theft), you should consider removing your residential address from your resume.  It is quite uncommon for employers to respond to applications via post nowadays, so it is generally acceptable to list a suburb, state and postcode in lieu of your home address, or list instead of a PO Box or alternative postal address you prefer.

  1. Junior or School-Era Jobs Held
  2. High school education

If you have more than five years of post-secondary school experience, you are no longer considered a graduate and should delete those first ‘school kid’ typical jobs you had. Put simply, those after school or weekend jobs you had during school need to go! These dilute the value of ‘real world’ work experience you’ve gained. No adult should have their primary school education listed, and if you left high school 10 or more years ago, then delete this too. If you haven’t gained any further training or education since leaving high school then, unfortunately, we don’t have a selling point here – and take it off altogether. Consider doing some formal training or professional development to build or update your skills and demonstrate a commitment to learning to your future employer.

  1. Clichéd Phrases and Claims You Can’t Back Up With Examples

Focus on transferable and technical skills that can be verified, and not solely on soft skills, and don’t make any claims that you cannot support with solid examples. Using loose terms like ‘excellent communication skills’ or ‘organisational skills’ won’t carry any weight without examples to back them up. Every person believes they have these skills! How did you demonstrate these skills? What achievements or tangible improvements have you made to your employer?
Outline the situation, the action you took and the outcome, and use figures wherever possible because employers don’t want to hire ‘box tickers’. You need to show a potential employer that you have made your workplace all the better for having you in it; be that increasing sales, improving processes, implementing strategies… the list could go on. Show your future employer that you can do more than what’s expected of you or simply what’s listed in your position description.

  1. References and ‘References available upon request’

Trust me, if they are not listed, they will ask! I recommend deleting this section altogether and place them on a separate reference contact sheet. Your resume is your sales tool, and your references do not do anything to sell you. It isn’t appropriate or expected that you’ll provide them until further on in the recruitment process.

  1. Detailed Descriptions of Jobs 10+ Years Old

It is generally accepted that the ‘shelf life’ so to speak, of a skill, training qualification or experience is around 10 years (excluding university degrees). Skills or job experience exercised longer than 10 years ago could very likely be obsolete or outdated, due to the diminishment of skill through the passage of time, changes and advancements in technology, new modern practices, societal or legal changes, just to name a few. This isn’t to say we should omit that work history – instead, briefly summarise it.

There we have it! 10 details you can remove and improve to instantly lift your resume and highlight the true value you offer to your future employer. Having a well-crafted resume can shorten the length of your job search, support you in attracting and securing better job opportunities, and negotiate greater pay and conditions. To say it is a worthwhile investment is an understatement!

If you’d like to discuss the effectiveness of your resume, let’s about how we can work together to ensure your career success.

This blog originally appeared on Behind The Brand’s Blog: 10 Things To Remove From Your Resume. Behind The Brands is a community for female entrepreneurs in Western Australia.


Stacey Murray (CARW, B.Bus. Human Resource Management, MAHRI) is an award-winning Certified Advanced Resume Writer, degree qualified Human Resources professional with 9+ years’ recruitment experience, and Member of Australian Human Resources Institute and Career Directors International. She’s been helping clients succeed since 2009, offering expertise from both sides of the hiring desk, bringing a range of insights from the employer viewpoint, as well as that of the applicant. Stacey is passionate about community and education, and presents workshops on a range of career, job search and employability skills topics to community, school groups and workplaces.

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