Career Resource Center

The Resume Critique: 5 Steps To A Better Resume

In these uncertain economic times, a resume critique is a smart idea. While millions have been left furloughed, others may be working at companies on the brink of layoffs. This may be a time when you’ll need to make a change and a great resume is a crucial component of any job search. Is your resume up to the challenge? Let’s take a look.

Step One: Is Your Resume Updated & Error-Free?

You’ll need to ensure that your latest work experiences are listed on your resume. Be sure to highlight three or four accomplishments or responsibilities you held at this most recent post. More importantly, read the entire resume carefully to ensure that there are no careless spelling or grammar errors.

The workplace has rarely ever been more competitive, and hiring managers make choices based upon the quality of each resume. If your resume has spelling errors or other careless errors, why would they hire you over someone that took the time to edit their resume?

Step Two: Does Your Resume Look Flawless?

At Resume Writing Group, our clients typically provide us with a copy of their previous resume so we’ve handled our share of resume critiques. We often find that even if there aren’t spelling errors, the client has an inconsistent style throughout the resume.

For instance, they might write some work experiences in the present tense and then some in the past tense. This might be fine if the current work experience is still on-going, but we see many instances where the client does this within the same work experience. They might use dashes to indicate work tasks in one section, and bullets in another. They might use italics to indicate a company name in one area, and then use boldface to indicate another company name.

These might seem like unimportant details, but these little inconsistencies can be distracting to a hiring manager skimming your resume. The last thing you want a hiring manager to notice is the inconsistency of the resume design. You want them to focus entirely on the quality of the content, and this is why you need to spend some time focusing on the resume style.

It doesn’t need to be flashy and hip with a bunch of cool design elements, in fact, simple is best. But, each section should be consistent and clean looking. Look over your resume to ensure that each section is designed and written in the same style.

Step Three: Did You Provide Clear Examples?

A hiring manager needs to be able to quickly skim your resume and truly get a sense of your capabilities and accomplishments. Too often, people write vague statements about their work experiences without providing clear examples.

A person who served as a restaurant manager might state that they managed staff, created weekly schedules, and ordered supplies. These are important tasks, but if you add a bit more detail, the hiring manager will truly see what you accomplished. Instead, you might state that you “managed a 25-person restaurant staff, including waitpersons, kitchen staff, cleanup crews and hosts.”

Instead of simply stating you created schedules, you could express that you “created weekly schedules, resulting in 65% less absenteeism.” Instead of stating that you were responsible for ordering supplies, you might say instead that you “ordered supplies and designed an inventory management system that decreased spending by 25%.”

Obviously, each of these accomplishments needs to be true, but the examples we provide are to show you how to quantify your skills on a resume. Quantifying skills is one of the best ways to truly show a hiring manager why you might be the best candidate for a job.

Step Four: Does Your Resume Fit The Job Description?

Before you send out any resume, critique the document to ensure that it matches the job description. Your resume needs to align with the job requirements as much as possible, so if you notice that the employer needs certain skills, certifications, software proficiencies, etc., be sure that these are skills you add to the resume.

If you don’t have all of the skills, simply list the ones you do possess. In some cases, you might be working toward certifications or taking classes to improve your proficiency. If so, include a cover letter and discuss in this letter your current situation and how you are taking steps to learn more and gain experience. You might explain that you will be certified by a set date or that you are completing a workshop or class for a certain type of software or skill.

The cover letter provides you with an opportunity to expand upon your resume, so take advantage of it. If you aren’t quite certain how to write a great cover letter, we can help with that. In addition to our resume writing services, we also can provide you with a top-notch cover letter.

In most cases, sending out a resume and cover letter is a great idea; however, some companies specifically ask that you do not send a cover letter. If a company does not want a cover letter, do not send one. It’s always best to follow the instructions given as exactly as possible.

Step Five: Is Your Resume ATS-Compliant?

Most resumes, aside from the ones you hand directly to a hiring manager or send via snail mail, will be filtered through applicant-tracking software. This software scans each resume to search for specific keywords, such as skills and certifications that are required.

It’s crucial that you look over your resume and make sure that it contains some of these target keywords. Generally, these keywords will be found in the job description. Not only will a hiring manager be looking for them, the software programs also will look for those keywords.

In some cases, people stuff their resume with too many keywords, and the resume becomes very awkward. You still need to compose your resume so that it flows well and appeals to a human. It’s a delicate balance, appealing to people and software programs, and this is a huge reason to use a professional resume writer. Our writing team has crafted thousands of ATS-compliant resumes, and we know how to pique the interest of a hiring manager as well as targeting that applicant tracking software.

These software programs cannot read decorative fonts or understand unique margins, so be sure that any resume you submit electronically uses standard margins and basic typefaces, such as Times New Roman, Calibri, etc. If you have spent time creating a resume with a funky or unique design just save this document for those occasions when you physically hand a copy to a hiring manager or perspective employer.

At Resume Writing Group, we can provide resumes for any industry and any level of employment, from entry-level up to high-level executive positions. Our resumes also come with an unparalleled guarantee. If you follow our advice and use our resume, but are not hired in 45 days or less, we will refund the cost of your resume and pay you an additional $100.

No other resume company stands behind their work with this level of a guarantee, so if you need a resume critique, a resume update or perhaps a resume created from scratch, get started today and one of our expert writers will begin working on your resume as soon as possible.


Jacob Mathias

Jacob Mathias is a content writer and SEO specialist for Resume Writing Groups. He also works as a web developer and designer. He's passionate about sharing ways on how to get the job you want and living life to the fullest.

Need help with your resume?

We offer a FREE resume critique! Simply fill out a few fields and upload your resume!

Get the information you need to land your dream job faster – delivered to your inbox, every week.