8 Ways to Revamp Your Resume
Article by Emma Ryan
Should your resume be one page or two? Should you include school projects? You’ve probably asked yourself these questions at least once.
Deciding what to include on your resume can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Georgia Tech’s career professionals are here to help. Read on for their eight tips to revamp your resume.
- Start with an ad for your dream job or internship. Do this before you ever create your resume, said Jenny Strakovsky, associate director of Graduate Studies and Career Education in Modern Languages. She recommends setting up filters on LinkedIn, Indeed, and Google Jobs for the specific job you’re looking for. Once you’ve found a job that interests you, keep it in front of you as you build your resume. It will offer insight into the skills that the employer is looking for and the language you can use to talk about those skills, Strakovsky added.
- Build a different resume for each type of job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re studying global media, then you might qualify for jobs in marketing, international diplomacy, and education, Strakovsky said. Each of these fields will require you to emphasize different strengths. On each resume you build, prioritize the experiences and projects that are most relevant to that specific field, she said.
- Keep in mind that relevant content is more important than length. A strict one-page rule is more applicable for undergraduates, said Clarence Anthony Jr., assistant director of Graduate Career Development at Tech’s Career Center. Graduate students applying to upper-level jobs should use their resume to show off their higher level of education and experience, he added. Place an emphasis on coursework and projects that are specifically related to the job or industry you’re applying to. “The ultimate goal is to present as much relevant information as possible,” Anthony said. “If you go over a page, you'll be ok — I promise!”
- Don’t overwhelm your recruiter with your life story. The purpose of a resume is not to get you a job — it’s to interest the recruiter enough that they’ll want to interview you, said Kevin Stacia, an MBA career coach and corporate relations manager at the Scheller College of Business MBA Career Center. “Your resume is an appetizer, not the entrée,” Stacia added. “You can expound on your skills and experiences during the interview, and your job offer will be the dessert!”
- Name your projects section with keywords. Use section names like “Analytics Projects” or “Strategy Projects” vs. “Academic Projects” or “School Projects,” said Ann Blasick, a career coach and corporate relations manager for the M.S. Analytics program. “Don’t underestimate the importance of these projects — whether they’re class projects, competitions, or personal passion projects, they show that you can apply your classwork to real-world problems,” she added. This section should go directly after your “Work Experience” section, unless your projects are more relevant to the job you’re applying to than your experience. In that case, put the projects section first, Blasick said.
- Showcase the impact of your previous roles — not just your day-to-day tasks. Employers want to see that you can think critically, see the big picture, and care enough to be an asset to the company, Strakovsky said. Ask yourself how your work contributes to the larger problem the company is trying to solve, and then describe your role with effective bullet points. “When students bring me drafts of their resumes, they often list a set of tasks like ‘writing press releases’ or ‘organizing files,’” Strakovsky said. “But once they start explaining the backstory, I learn that they were involved in amazing, high-impact projects, like rethinking the strategy of an organization or liaising with policymakers. You do important work, and your resume should reflect that!”
- Describe your jobs and projects with the formula of Strong Verb + Action Taken + Impact/Result. Include the specific actions you took to address a problem, the tools you used, and the outcomes or insights you gained from the project, Blasick said. For example, Blasick said, “Analyzed how spending patterns of citizens in several South American countries influenced government technology adoption policies, resulting in Best Research Paper Award.” If it was a team project, highlight your personal contributions. Order your bullets with the most relevant ones at the top, so that the recruiter sees them first.
- Review your resume with Skillsyncer. Skillsyncer is a free keyword optimization tool that shows you how your resume matches up to a specific job description and which keywords may be missing. This will help your resume do a better job of making it through a company’s applicant tracking system, which will scan your resume for the keywords that the job requires, Blasick said.