The Secret to Getting More Job Interviews? Improve Your Resume

Dec 03, 2014 - Joe Matar
Do you spend hours every week tweaking your resume, hoping that rearranging words or changing the font might be the key to getting consistent interviews? There’s no shame in doing that; in fact, it shows you care enough about getting a job that you’ll put in extra effort. The problem is, you’re wasting your time. No matter which sentence or two you change, your resume will be at least 95 percent the same. Expect to get 95 percent or more of the same results. (Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean having a great resume doesn’t require effort and isn’t worth it.) Once you design a solid resume and create a master skill set or experience points you can use as needed, the return on your revision efforts goes down the drain.

How you should spend your time

If you want to improve your resume, spend the time you normally use to fiddle with your resume in one of two ways: overhaul your resume or accomplish more. (Click here to tweet these options.) Overhauling your resume can result in a resume that’s 50 percent or more different from what you started with, but it isn’t always an option. If you take the time initially to come up with a great template, there’s no point in overhauling your resume. You can’t improve it. Only create a new resume if you didn’t put the effort in at the start and think you can significantly upgrade your resume. The second option is what you should get excited about and spend your time and effort on in the long term. Why? If you’re not getting good results after creating a sleek and well-written resume, you need to improve the value you bring to the table. If you want to stand out against other qualified candidates, it may be time to take your game to the next level.

Add new skills to your resume

You can present your current skills and accomplishments perfectly, but if those skills and accomplishments aren’t that impressive, it’s time to get new ones. Figuring out how to do this in your spare time is easier for some careers than others. One option is to complete personal projects or do some pro bono work. This is ideal for designers, artists and programmers. You can use these opportunities to showcase an existing skill or to develop a new one. For example, if you’re a programmer, you can learn a new language to not only improve your versatility, but also open up a whole new segment of the job market to apply to. The second option is to take a class or seminar. These can often be found at local post-secondary schools. Furthermore, with the explosion of high quality online courses, most of which are free, you don’t have an excuse not to learn useful skills that can be put on a resume.

What skills should you learn?

Think about the typical jobs you apply for from the other side of the table. What valuable skills are required that you don’t have? Make a list and find ways you can develop and apply these skills. Within just a month or two of learning new skills, you’ll be a more well-rounded candidate who stands out. While that may seem like a significant time investment (it is), the returns from your efforts will be well worth it. Even when you get a job, never stop learning and advancing your skills. You never know when it might come in handy. Dale Cudmore is the founder of Raw Resume, an all-in-one stop for resources that will help you create a killer resume to get interviews. Access a special bonus for Brazen Life readers that contains the top free online courses you can start today here.