How to Tackle a Complete Resume Overhaul

If you are about to do a resume overhaul, read this!

Are you about to rework your entire resume?

Are you worried about getting your resume just right?

Sometimes it takes another set of eyes to bring out the best in your CV.

In this article, you’ll learn how to overhaul your resume so you can get the job you want.

How to do a complete resume overhaulI’ve worked on my fair share (hundreds!) of resumes over the years. The one thing I notice is that people consistently undersell themselves. They don’t package themselves correctly and they make errors that end up reflecting poorly on them.

Now, when you do something a lot, your brain tends to parse information really quickly. There’s a lot of details that I could give you if you were to look inside my head. Until that’s possible, I thought I would put together a “before and after” article depicting a complete resume overhaul, starting with this one: the digital merchandising professional. I was originally doing this resume overhaul for a friend, but I thought I would share it with the rest of the world instead of just with her!

My friend works in e-commerce, but it’s okay if you don’t. If you are about to do a resume overhaul yourself, you’re in the right place! If you do happen to work in e-commerce, pay special attention to some of the sentences I used here (and feel free to steal some for yourself – I’m feeling generous today!)

 

The “Before” version

resume-editing-before-version

Ok, I’ll admit, this one was put together really quickly. Looking at this, I can say it’s going to be a lot of work. It’s a complete resume overhaul, so I expected that! Right away, it looks like we can adjust the following sections without thinking:

  • Experience section should be before education (unless you have limited experience)
  • Remove the objective section!
  • Put experience in reverse chronological order
  • Remove Awards section (unless you have significant awards, this looks like filler)

Let’s take a look at some of the sections in a bit more detail.

 

Resume Overhaul: Ditch the Objective Section

resume-editing-remove-objective-sectionSeriously. Ditch the objective section. I see these very often whenever I’m doing a resume overhaul. Your objective is clear based on the jobs you are applying for! Save precious space and skip the objective section.

 

Resume Overhaul: The Education Section

resume-editing-only-include-relevant-educationIf your eduction section is a bit sparse, it can be tempting to add in irrelevant education to fill out the section. Don’t do this! Keep it focused. Only include relevant education. The only time I’d advise against this is if there is a long gap in your work history that could be explained by the education.

 

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Resume Overhaul: The Experience Section

resume-editing-make-experience-achievement-orientedFirst of all, always make sure to have your experience laid out in reverse chronological order. Second, let’s add bullets to the list! Also, let’s work on the organization a bit. I think this section can be organized into 3 points, each one based on a certain skill. The wording could use a bit of work too (see the revised version of the CV at the end of this article).

resume-editing-make-experience-quantifiable3 is kind of a magic number when it comes to English writing. One point doesn’t give us any comparison. Two points only gives us one point of reference. With 3 points in a section, we can start to get a good idea of a person’s range. This logic can be extended to most lists, whether in regular writing, reports, or even powerpoint presentations. Also, try to make your CV quantifiable as often as possible.

Besides quite a bit of work on the wording in this section, I noticed some punctuation inconsistency. This might seem like a small issue, but to my eye, it’s a clear sign that this person doesn’t pay attention to detail! Now, I know the person who made this resume and I can say without a doubt, she is hawk-like in her attention to detail. Don’t let little mistakes like this de-value you!

resume-editing-be-consistent-punctuation

 

Resume Overhaul: The awards and acknowledgements section?

resume-editing-no-clichesUnless you’ve got several awards, don’t create a section like this! It’s best to stick to the basics. This person actually has a lot of good experience, so there’s no need to fluff it up like this.

 

The Finished Product

resume-editing-after-version

Here we go. Take a look at what’s happened here in the finished version of this CV:

  • Reformatted entire document
  • Added a skills section to each experience section
  • Made the document scannable by adding bold sections
  • Reworked the wording throughout (probably the most difficult part!)

Did I miss anything? Feel free to tell me on LinkedIn or comment below!

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Ryan - The Resume Ninja

Ryan - The Resume Ninja

The Resume Ninja is Ryan Cordoni. His work in marketing, print design and executive training has transformed him into a finely tuned resume writing machine. And what good is a finely tuned resume writing machine without a blog?
Ryan - The Resume Ninja

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