Edit Your Resume in Five Simple Steps

By Jeremy Cyrus 03/05/2014
Edit Your Resume in Five Simple Steps

Your resume is complete! Every section is drafted, and all the details of your education and work history are in place and ready for prime time. But before you attach your cover letter and send your entire application off to a potential employer, stop and take a breath. No polished, professional piece of writing is ever complete without a thorough editing process. Take these five steps before you make another move.

1. Read it again.

This is a no brainer. You'll need to read back over your resume (and your cover letter!) not once, but several times. And don't just read your documents with your own eyes. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential employer, and envision this person as the most uptight, unforgiving, easily confused, and judgmental person you've ever met.

2. Now print it out and grab a red pen.

Circle every adverb, every repetition of the word "success" or "successfully", and every sentence or phrase that seems less than perfectly clear. Delete the adverbs, replace overused words, and make every claim as specific as possible. If a statement applies to everyone in the world (for example, "I'm a hard worker"), get rid of it. Focus on the details that refer only to you.

3. Keep your bullet points parallel.

If the first bullet point under a subheading begins with a past tense verb (for example, "Managed warehouse inventory"), then make sure the other bullets points do too.

4. Review your formatting and layout.

Back up and review the visual impact of your resume on the page. Is the text small and cluttered? Are specific pieces of information easy to find? Does the subheadings look balanced? Is the resume easy to skim? Visit Free Resume Builder for helpful and easy-to-use formatting tools.

5. Hand it over.

Before you submit your resume to an employer, hand it off to at least two other people who can provide you with a fresh pair of eyes and a little perspective. Stay open to their impressions and their advice.

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