- We asked experts from TopResume to make over the resumé of a professional with enough experience to no longer be considered entry-level.
- The experts top-loaded the resumé, made it easier to read, and emphasised job experience over college experience.
- You can use these tips to make over your own resumé.
It may not feel like it, but once you’ve got a few years of job experience under your belt, you’re not an entry-level employee anymore — you’re mid-level.
Your approach to finding a job will need to change accordingly.
No longer can you rely on what you did in college to impress potential employers — now it’s up to you to convey what you’ve learned and accomplished in the working world.
With a diverse range of positions over the past five years, Lucy (not her real name) wanted to find a job supporting the administration in higher education, but her resumé, which read more like that of an entry-level worker, wasn’t landing her interviews.
We asked Joe S., a resumé writer with TopResume, to rewrite Lucy’s resumé and make it more appropriate for a mid-level employee looking to transition careers.
Joe focused on highlighting the hard and soft skills Lucy has acquired from her various positions. He also emphasised her experience in teaching to position her for entry into a role more focused on learning and development.
Amanda Augustine, the career advice expert for TopResume, explains some of the changes Joe made to Lucy’s resumé to prepare her for the job search.
While your resumé may look different, these specific pointers should help you overhaul your own resumé:
Lucy already had a LinkedIn profile, but she hadn't added this information to her resumé.
Joe made sure Lucy customised the public URL for his LinkedIn profile to include her name before adding it to her new resumé.
'LinkedIn is not only a great place to build your personal brand and make connections in your field, but employers expect to find you on there,' Augustine said.
She pointed to a Jobvite survey, which found that about 90% of employers use LinkedIn to search for and evaluate job candidates.
'Gone are the days when you're required to include your full mailing address at the top of your resumé,' Augustin said.
In fact, she said that many security-conscious professionals intentionally remove this information out of fear of identity theft.
If you're searching for a job close to home, Augustine suggested including your city, state, and zip code at the top of your resumé and excluding your street address. Otherwise, it's best to leave the entire thing off.
Since Lucy held several different positions over the past few years, Augustine said her job goals weren't obvious at first glance of her old resumé.
Joe added a professional title and subhead to the top of her new resumé to clearly spell out her immediate goals and set the stage for her professional summary.
Crafting the perfect elevator pitch is an important way to sell yourself as a job seeker.
'Regardless of your profession, everyone becomes a marketer when it's time to look for work,' Augustine said. 'And your resumé will become a key part of your personal marketing campaign.'
Joe created a professional summary at the top of Lucy's resumé that summarised her qualifications for the reader. In addition to highlighting her most marketable and relevant skills, this professional summary reframes Lucy's experience and sets the tone for the rest of the resumé, Augustine said.
'Language skills are often considered a valuable selling point in the job market,' Augustin said. 'If you speak more than one language, be sure to highlight this information on your resumé.'
To emphasise Lucy's bilingual skills, Joe added them to her professional summary, in addition to the Education and Credentials section to ensure a recruiter won't overlook these highly marketable skills.
Joe also created an Areas of Expertise section that is full of relevant keywords and technical proficiencies.
'Not only will this section make it easier for a recruiter to quickly scan the top of Lucy's resumé and get a good sense of her capabilities, but it will also help her application make it past the electronic filters, known as applicant tracking systems, that pre-screen applications before they are passed on to HR for review,' Augustine said.
Now that Lucy is no longer an entry-level professional, Augustine said there's no need to reference her internships on her resumé.
'Your college internships, while valuable, will only serve you during your first year or two after graduation,' she said. 'After that, employers will look to your most recent work experience to gauge your fit for their open position.'
Lucy's old resumé used bullets to format all the information listed in her Work History section. While this practice isn't uncommon, Augustine said it doesn't make for a visually-appealing resumé.
To make Lucy's resumé more aesthetically pleasing and still informative, Joe restructured each job under her Work History section into two parts:
1. A short blurb that describes her position.
2. A few bullets that call out the information employers care most about like key contributions and achievements.
'At this point in Lucy's career, her education takes a back seat to her real-world experience,' Augustine said.
As a result, Lucy's education is listed at the bottom of her resumé and her GPA is eliminated entirely.
'Once you're no longer a recent college graduate, there's no reason to list your GPA on your resumé,' Augustine said.
'While it may be tempting to jazz up the design of your resumé, it's important to remember that recruiters are accustomed to looking for certain pieces of information in specific areas of a resumé document,' Augustine said. 'The less time a recruiter spends hunting for information on your resumé, the more likely you are to make it to the next stage of the hiring process.'
Augustine said that applicant tracking systems -- the bots that scan your resumé and decide if you're a good fit for the position -- tend to have trouble reading and parsing resumé information when it doesn't follow a traditional layout.
To solve this, Joe streamlined Lucy's resumé overall so that recruiters and hiring managers may review information quickly.
'With clearer headings and more organised content, it will also play well with the ATS software,' Augustine said.
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