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Resume fixes you need to do right now

I review a lot of resumes every week. People are always asking for advice on what works and what doesn’t and I say the almost the exact same things every single time. Here are my most repeated tips on what should be updated, what to include and what to completely remove from your resume. 


Things to Remove From Your Resume Immediately


1) Remove the objective statement

We know what the objective of a resume is: to get a new job. Don’t tell us why you are writing your resume; tell us how you are going to make an impact and how your experience is going to help solve problems. (see "Add a profile statement" below)


2) Remove your home address

First: No one is mailing you anything.

Second: If you live in Toronto and want to commute to Guelph for work, that is up to you. Don’t let a prospective hiring manager decide that the commute is too long and eliminate you from consideration before even speaking with you.


3) Remove “References available upon request”

It is assumed that you have references and that they will be made available when requested. Save the space and use it to better highlight more of your accomplishments.

Bonus tip: When your references are requested, provide them on a separate document with the same look as your resume. Also make sure you’ve called and vetted your references prior to listing them on aforementioned document.


4) Remove “x years experience”

This is often the first sentence in a profile statement and it might eliminate you from a role immediately. I tell everyone to remove it. Don’t let a prospective employer decide that you are too expensive or have too much experience even though you are willing and able to do the job for the salary they are offering. 


5) Remove unprofessional or inappropriate email addresses

Do not use the email address that you use for fandoms, side projects, jokes or the one that you've had since high school. Go get a new email address immediately.


6) Remove useless bullet points that don’t tell the reader anything

There are two major bullet point problems in resumes: useless bullet points that are a task list with no substance and too many bullet points that try to cover everything. More than 4 or 5 per job, is TOO many. They aren’t working hard enough for you. They aren’t tailored to the job you are applying for. The reader wants to know immediately what you have accomplished and what you will bring to this opportunity. Don’t make the reader navigate through this wall of text. Make it easy and get rid of the job duty list.

“Too many bullets...also forces the reader to read every line of the resume to find the details they’re looking for (qualifications, skills, achievements, etc.)”

(See below for "Add results & achievements")


7) Remove software programs that you should know how to use

Word, Excel, PowerPoint: I’m looking at you here.


Things To Add To Your Resume Immediately


1) Add a profile statement

It's the first thing someone will read on your resume. Make it impactful, meaningful, relevant and use it to not only highlight your accomplishments, but make the reader want to continue reading. Make it easy for someone to read this profile statement, know what value you bring and want to learn more.


Follow this advice from Adrienne Tom to help you get started:

  1. Who you are (sales manager) + 

  2. Specifics around your area of expertise (sales growth in the oil & gas industry) + 

  3. One or two related examples of measured success (delivered YOY sales growth 5 straight years… directed sales teams of 20+ to exceed all sales targets). 

  4. Tie the above together with industry-appropriate language/keywords to create a strong opening statement.


All recruiters can agree here:

“My recommendation is to replace the objective statement with a branded headline and a succinct, tailored summary. Show the employer the benefits of hiring you right near the start of the file.”

“More productive use of resume space is to replace the tired, ‘me-focused’ objective statement with a short tailored summary. Yet simply stating you are a “detail-oriented sales professional with 15 years of experience and a track record of success” isn’t going to cut it.”


2) Add results & achievements for each role

Use the words “Key accomplishments” and then list 1 or 2.

Use the word “Results” and then list the results that you accomplished.

Use the word “Achievements” and then list some of the amazing things that you have achieved in your job.


USE DATA to back these up! We all have results and data – every single job has objectives and KPI's that are measured. Please tell me what they are and how you crushed them.

This alone is the #1 tip from recruiters and resume writers everywhere:

“Focus on key achievements. - Highlight results - Don't rehash a daily to-do list.”

“Are you utilizing your result-based accomplishments on your resume to stand out as an achiever, leader and polished candidate? That is what you should focus on.”

“Throw away bland job duty bullet points. Assume that recruiters understand your job. Focus instead on achievements.What did you do? Use data to quantify your achievement. What was the beginning problem you addressed and what was the end result? The more specific the better.”

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Once you have updated your resume with a meaningful profile statement, results and accomplishments, removed all the excess fluff and useless bullet points – your work has not ended! You still need to tailor it to every single job you apply to.

Here’s my daily shameless plug for Jobscan.co. Go there. Use the resume/job description keyword matching tool. Update your resume. Apply to job. Repeat. 

Good luck!

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