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An experienced software engineer with a passion for computers and learning, Mark Jones (not his real name) built a solid career over the past 20-plus years. But his résumé didn't capture the confidence and skills he built during his career.
"Mark's résumé was screaming for a serious face-lift,” said Joe Szynkowski, the TopResume senior résumé writer who was assigned to Mark's project. AARP and TopResume recently began offering a Resume Advisor tool, which offers free, professional critiques of résumés along with discounted prices for résumé rewrites. “Lacking in design aesthetic, [Jones’ résumé] was failing to guide recruiters through a clear narrative of Mark's background,” Szynkowski said.
Jones agreed. “I think I have a lot to offer a company, but I don't know exactly how to explain it on my résumé,” he said.
To help Jones market himself to prospective employers, Szynkowski focused on standardizing the résumé's overall design. He added headers, page numbers and subheads to clearly define each section. He also gave the document more visual balance by separating Jones’ achievements from the routine tasks of his jobs throughout the work history section.
Below are some of the specific changes Szynkowski made to Jones’ résumé to ensure employers gave him the consideration his experience and qualifications deserved:
1. The street address is not listed.
It's no longer necessary to include your full mailing address on your résumé. If you're seeking work close to home and you want employers to know you're a local candidate, include your city and state. However, leave your street address off to protect yourself from potential identity theft. If you're motivated to relocate for work, you may decide to remove the location information entirely or state your interest in relocating instead.
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2. The résumé includes a link to relevant online profiles.
LinkedIn can be a great platform for making connections, exchanging valuable information and finding job opportunities. It's also a place where recruiters expect to be able to find you. A study from Jobvite — a company that offers recruiting software to businesses — found that 90 percent of employers use LinkedIn to search for and evaluate job candidates. Make it easy for them to find you by including the link to your profile at the top of your résumé.
3. The goals — and value — are clear.
In addition to adding a professional title at the top of Jones’ résumé, Szynkowski added a line just above the professional summary to ensure readers would know exactly what type of position Jones is seeking. This line not only summarizes Mark's experience, it also sets the tone for the rest of the document. When crafting your résumé, make sure the top third provides recruiters with a snapshot of what they need to know about your career goals and qualifications.