How to Improve Your Resume in 8 Easy Steps

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September 28, 2023
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19
min read

3 takeaways 

  • What are the basic components to improve a resume 
  • What mistakes should you avoid to make your resume stand out
  • How to build a strong resume with the Teal AI Resume Builder

As a job seeker in today's market, putting your best foot forward matters now more than ever. And while you've probably crafted a good resume, 2023 begs for something a little extra: Your resume needs to be great.

Creating a resume that's clear, concise, and impactful attracts recruiters and engages hiring managers is a must. But, like many job seekers, you might be left trying to figure out how to improve your resume in a way that actually makes a difference.

Fortunately, the process is much easier than you think—especially with the right tools

By the end of this post, you'll be empowered with the insights needed to refine your resume, make a lasting impression, and efficiently track your job search journey for every application.

The basics of a good resume 

A resume is a document that conveys your professional journey and skillset. Its primary goal? To grab the attention of potential employers and recruiters and offer a snapshot of your professional achievements. 

In other words, your resume is the gateway to new professional opportunities and one of the most important components to nail for job seekers.

But improving your resume isn't just about listing your past roles or using flashy design; it's about crafting a document that reflects your professional story. It's about ensuring every word and every bullet point adds value and brings you one step closer to that next job interview.

The main components of a well-written resume

To make a resume that stands out and effectively communicates your value proposition, it needs to be formatted in a specific way. 

Here's what traditionally constitutes a good resume:

1. Contact information: List your name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile URL (if applicable).

Contact information to improve a resume
Your resume should have a clear contact section

2. Target title: A descriptive header that clearly states the position you're applying to.

Target title to improve a resume
A succinct target title draws attention

3. Professional summary: A concise, impactful "about me" resume section that summarizes your professional background, key skills, and career goals (sometimes called your "resume objective").

Professional summary to improve a resume
Use a professional summary to highlight your career in aggregate

4. Work experience: A chronological list of your employment history, starting with the most recent position. Each entry should include your job title, the company, dates of employment, and a summary of your achievements.

Work Experience to improve a resume
A well-written Work Experience section includes relevant achievements

5. Education: Details about your academic background, including degrees earned, institutions attended, and graduation dates.

Certifications to improve a resume
Improve your resume by Including education

6. Skills: List relevant hard skills like specific tools and software you're proficient in.

Skills section to improve a resume
List hard skills to showcase what tools and software you're familiar with

7. Certifications and awards: Any relevant certifications, awards, or honors you've received that can bolster your application.

Improve a resume with certifications
Showcase professional development with certifications on a resume

In the end, you should have a well-formated resume with each of these sections.  However, keep in mind there's more than one way to format a resume, so you'll need to choose the best structure based on the job you want and the experience you have. 

An improved resume
Improve your resume by incorporating the right sections

Common resume mistakes to avoid

Creating a great resume is as much about avoiding pitfalls as it is about including the right information. A resume that stands out for the wrong reasons can make your job search much more challenging. 

Here are some common resume mistakes you should steer clear of:

1. Spelling and grammatical errors

Spelling and grammatical errors can make you appear careless and reduce your chances of landing that interview.  Always proofread your resume multiple times and consider using a tool like Grammarly.

2. Using a one-size-fits-all approach

Customization of your resume is key. Sending the same resume for every job application is a common mistake and one that's obvious to hiring managers. Tailor your resume for each role by highlighting the most relevant experiences and skills.

The good news is that tailoring resumes for each of your applications doesn't need to be overly time-consuming.

In fact, once you have the basic structure of your resume locked in and a job description in front of you, tailoring is fairly easy. In addition, strategically applying to the roles you're at least 70% qualified for will help with this process.

On an episode of Hiring Behind The Scenes with Teal Founder and CEO Dave Fano, seasoned Technical Recruiter Tejal Wagadia says,

"If it takes you more than 5 minutes per resume, per application, it's too much. It's too long. You're doing too much. You're either not applying to the right roles, or you're casting a wider net than you should be."

3. Including too much information

Lengthy, text-heavy resumes are hard to scan for the most important and relevant details.

Be concise and focus on your most impactful achievements and roles. Ideally, keep your resume to one page (maybe two pages if you have extensive experience and you're going for a senior-level role).

Remember: The job of your resume is to showcase just the top 10% of your experience and job history that's 100% relevant to the role you're applying to.

4. Being too vague

Avoid generic statements and a list of responsibilities or job duties. Be specific about your achievements and impact. Try using a tool like ChatGPT for a resume to create achievements with quantifiable data. For example,"increased sales by 20%" instead of "responsible for sales improvement."

But be ready to explain and back up any concrete examples to a hiring manager during an interview.

5. Using complex jargon

While it's important to showcase your knowledge and expertise, avoid loading your resume with industry-specific jargon. Use clear, simple language that demonstrates your value and is understandable to non-experts.

Filling your resume with complicated jargon can obscure your actual contributions and make it difficult for recruiters to understand the relevance of your experience.

6. Neglecting the format

A messy, inconsistent format can make your resume hard to read and leave a negative impression. Use a clean, professional layout with clear headings, bullet points, and a consistent font and font size.

An inconsistent, cluttered format can make your resume difficult to read quickly, frustrating recruiters and reducing your chances of being shortlisted.

7. Omitting keywords

Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter resumes. Ignoring the relevant keywords can make it hard for hiring professional to find the skills and qualifications they're searching for within the system. 

Review the job description and include keywords related to the skills and experiences required for the role.

Did you know? Teal highlights key skills from your job description so you can quickly see which information is most important: 

Improving a resume with keywords
Pull the most relevant skills from any job description.

Sign up for free and try Teal today!

8. Including personal information

Avoid adding personal details such as age, marital status, or religious beliefs. Stick to professional information that supports your application.

Adding unnecessary personal details can be off-putting and unprofessional. It can also expose you to biases and detract attention from your professional qualifications and experiences.

9. Leaving out important details

While keeping your resume concise is important, don't omit crucial information that could enhance your application. Ensure you include all relevant experiences, skills, and accomplishments that align with the job you're applying for.

Omitting important information can lead to missed opportunities to showcase your suitability for the role.

Remember these points as you edit your resume for each role you're applying to. 

How to improve your resume 

Recruiters don't have the time to sift through pages of irrelevant information. 

They're looking for a snapshot of your professional journey that's relevant, comprehensive, and succinct, showcasing only the most pertinent pieces of your experience.

That's why you need to do everything in your power to learn how to boost your resume by incorporating resume best practices

8 tips on improving your resume content

1. Tailor it to the job description

Analyze the job description like a treasure map—it has all the necessary clues you need. 

Identify the key skills and experiences the employer is after and mirror these in your resume. This isn't just about throwing in keywords but about aligning your resume to demonstrate exactly how you fit the bill.

2. Use action verbs

Kick off your sentences with compelling action verbs. Swap out the "responsible for's" with dynamic words like "orchestrated," "engineered," or "spearheaded." 

These convey energy and give your accomplishments the spotlight they deserve.

3. Quantify your achievements

Wherever possible, tie your accomplishments to quantifiable outcomes. 

Did you increase sales or efficiency? By how much? 

Numbers clearly show your impact and make your claims more credible, but you need to be ready to back them up.

4. Keep it focused

Try to maintain a clear focus on your key skills and accomplishments. Avoid the temptation to list every task you've ever completed. 

In other words, ditch the clutter and keep the spotlight on your most shining moments to make your resume easier to understand.

5. Prioritize readability

Use bullet points, headers, and short paragraphs to enhance readability. Your resume should be a smooth read, easily guiding the recruiter's eyes from one point to the next.

6. Integrate relevant keywords

You want your resume to be found by hiring professionals within Applicant Tracking Systems, incorporate relevant keywords throughout your content. 

These are often the skills and experiences listed in the job description.

7. Maintain a professional tone 

Maintaining a sense of professionalism with a conversational and engaging tone is great. 

Aim to strike the right balance to convey your personality without compromising your professionalism.

8. Seek feedback and refine

Gather input from mentors, peers, or someone in your industry Use their feedback to refine your resume continuously. It's all about iteration and refinement!

How to make a standout resume with Teal

Stepping into the job market can feel like stepping into the unknown. 

But with Teal by your side, you're not just stepping in; you're stepping up

Here's how you can create that stellar resume with Teal, making sure it's not just seen but also shines.

1. Log in

First things first, if you haven't already, sign up and log in to Teal's Resume Builder.

2. Upload your resume 

Already have your own resume or a LinkedIn profile? Perfect. 

Upload it to Teal so you can begin to update your resume. It's about starting where you are and going upwards from there. 

How to import a resume
Improve your resume by importing it quickly and easily

No need to start from scratch when you've got experiences and achievements to showcase.

3. Customize your resume 

Teal's AI comes with everything you need to tailor your professional resume and make sure each word and bullet point aligns with what your future employer is looking for. Teal even comes with built-in generative AI, so you can quickly build the first draft of your resume content: 

It's about making the right parts of your story resonate with a specific audience.

The good news is that everything with Teal is completely intuitive, and the platform identifies all the information you need, where you need it: 

Customize every section a resume
Customize every section of your resume with the right guidance

That way, you just need to focus on filling in your professional accomplishments; you can let Teal worry about the formatting! 

4. Analyze the job description for hard and soft skills 

Teal highlights both soft and technical skills from job descriptions that hiring managers and recruiters sit up and take notice. 

Again, Teal can help you with this. Once you've added the job description for the role you want, the software immediately analyzes the information and pulls out the most relevant skills: 

Highlighted resume keywords to improve your resume
Use Teal to find the most important keywords in every job description

5. Personalize your cover letter

With Teal, generate a personalized cover letter instantly using generative AI. 

AI-generated cover letter
Use AI to generate your cover letter

The cover letter is your introduction, and with Teal, it's crafted to captivate. Plus, it will automatically insert keywords from the job description you're applying to, making it more likely to stand out.

6. Track your journey

Watch every application move from sent to seen to selected. 

How to track job applications
Track the status of every job you apply for with the Teal Job Application Tracker

This helps you apply to multiple positions at the same time while staying organized from start to finish. 

So what are you waiting for? If you're serious about landing a new role in the competitive job market, make sure you're working with the best tools available. 

And that means using Teal to generate a better resume today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common mistakes to avoid when improving my resume?

Common mistakes include using a one-size-fits-all approach, including irrelevant work experience, overusing buzzwords, and failing to proofread. Tailor your resume for each job application, focus on relevant experiences that showcase your skills, use industry-specific language appropriately, and thoroughly check for any grammatical or spelling errors to make your resume stand out.

How can I quantify my achievements on my resume?

To quantify your achievements, use specific numbers, percentages, or other metrics to demonstrate the impact of your work. For example, instead of saying "increased sales," you could say "increased sales by 20% over a six-month period." This provides a clear picture of your effectiveness and the value you could bring to a potential employer.

Is it important to include a personal statement or objective on my resume?

Including a personal statement or objective can be beneficial if it's well-crafted and specific to the job you're applying for. It should briefly outline your career goals and how they align with the company's objectives. However, if space is limited, focus on your experience and skills that are directly relevant to the position.

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is a professional content marketer who's been lucky enough to write for some of the best SaaS brands on the planet, including Twilio, Trello, OptinMonster, TrustPulse, and more. When he's not obsessing over performance metrics, Nathan spends most of his time wrestling around with his kids.

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