You know that you should edit your resume before you send it off in the world, making sure it’s error free. But to make sure that resume is in the best possible shape. You should really take the editing process a few steps further.
Editing is more than just giving something an once-over to eliminate egregious typos and grammar mistakes. It’s really about looking something with a critical eye, then making changes to ensure it’s the best it can possibly be.
And that’s what you want for resume, right? Someone who edits all day and every day for a living, here’s a three steps editing plan that will take your resume from good to full-blown resume.
- Consider the Big Picture
When I look at an article for the first time, I have to resist the urge to fix typos or make style changes (as an editor it’s hard). But first thing I need to determine is whether the piece is working as a whole. Is this right for our publication? Is this message which we want to send out? Are there any major gaps or sections that are superfluous?
On that first read of your resume, try to do the same thing. Ignore typos or formatting issues, and think about the overall message your resume is sending:
- Does this sell you as the perfect candidate or the job you are seeking?
- Are there any gaps between the experience on the page and experience required for the job?
- If so, are there ways in which you could bridge those gaps?
- What makes your experience stand out among other, similar candidates?
- Does the top third of your resume serve as a hook to get the hiring manager to read more?
- In there anything in your resume that doesn’t need to be there?
- Scrutinize the Bullets and Details
As editors, we constantly ask ourselves if each word is the best one, if a sentence structure is right, if there’s anything that could be said more clearly, effectively or quickly. Do we add examples? Why say something if you can show it? It makes for a better writing and a more interesting read?
Walk through your resume again. Your resume at this point is to look at every section, every sentence, and every word and determine if there is better way to get your point across. For each bullet point, ask?
- Is this the strongest possible language you could use?
- Can anything be said more clearly? Or in fewer words?
- Fact check
Every so often, I will edit what I think is great, well-written article and suddenly realize that one of the source’s name is spelled wrong. I will take a closer look and see that wait a book title is incorrect, research numbers are not quite right, and that other facts in the article need a second look?
It’s a good idea to do this for your resume, too. Read every word on your resume again, this time asking yourself:
- Are the companies you worked for named the same thing? Still located in the same city?
- Are your position titles accurate?
- Are your employment dates accurate?
- Are all of the numbers and percentage you use to describe increases, quotas, budgets, savings, and achievements (reasonably) accurate?