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46 Essential Steps to Optimize Your Resume Before Sending It to Potential Employers

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Are you struggling to get hired despite sending out numerous resumes? It could be that your resume needs some tweaking. Your resume is your first impression, a reflection of your skills, work experience, and personality. Therefore, you need to make sure that it not only showcases your qualifications but also stands out from the competition.

To help you optimize your resume, we’ve compiled a list of 46 essential steps to follow before sending it to potential employers.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure that your resume is well-organized and structured with clear headings and subheadings.
  • Tailor your resume to the specific job you’re applying for.
  • Use strong action verbs and bullet points to highlight your achievements.
  • Proofread your resume for errors several times.
  • Utilize keywords related to the job posting throughout your resume.
  • Include links to your online portfolio, professional social media accounts, and relevant websites.
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Without further ado, let’s dive into the steps!

1. Research the Company

Before even starting to work on your resume, research the company you’re applying to. The research will help you understand the company culture, mission, and values, which can help you tailor your resume to the job opening.

2. Understand the Job Description

To tailor your resume, you need to understand the specific job opening. Analyze the job description carefully, and identify the keywords and required skills. Make a list and ensure that your resume highlights those specific areas.

3. Choose the Right Resume Format

There are three main resume formats: chronological, functional, and combination. Choose the format that best highlights your qualifications and work experience.

4. Use a Professional Email Address

Your resume is your professional representation. Therefore, use a professional email address that includes your name and not a casual address like “crazycatlady”.

5. Add a Professional Summary

Add a short professional summary that highlights your skills and experience at the top of your resume. This summary can grab the reader’s attention and make them read further.

6. Focus on Achievements

When listing your work experience, focus on your achievements rather than only your duties. Use bullet points to highlight concrete examples of your accomplishments with quantifiable results.

7. Use Action Verbs

Action verbs can help you to showcase your achievements better. Start your bullet points with strong and eye-catchy action verbs like “Led,” “Created,” “Achieved,” and “Implemented.”

8. Be Specific

When writing your resume, be specific and concise. Avoid vague words or phrases that don’t provide any real information or value.

9. Include Relevant Skills

Include relevant skills that match the job description. Be honest about your proficiency level in these skills.

10. Highlight Your Education

If you are a recent graduate or have little experience, highlight your education on your resume. Highlight relevant coursework that aligns with the job you’re applying for.

11. Add Professional Certifications

If you have relevant professional certifications, always include them on your resume.

12. Include Volunteer Work

If you have done any volunteer work that aligns with the job description or shows that you have a passion for the industry, include it on your resume.

13. Add Relevant Work Experience

Your resume should focus on relevant work experience. Therefore, limit the irrelevant information on your resume.

14. Utilize Keywords

Utilize pertinent keywords related to the job description throughout your resume. This can help your resume make it through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

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15. Keep It Short

Keep your resume concise and limit it to a single page if possible.

16. Left-align Your Text

Left-align your text as it is easy to read and skim.

17. Use Simple Bullet Points

Use simple bullet points to break up your resume and make it easy to scan.

18. Utilize White Space

Use white space to make your resume clean and streamlined.

19. Use Easy-to-Read Fonts

Use easy-to-read fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times News Roman. Avoid fanciful fonts that are hard to read.

20. Use Standard Font Size

Use a standard font size of 12 points for regular text and 14-16 points for headings.

21. Proofread Your Resume

Before submitting your resume, proofread it for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

22. Get a Second Opinion

Have someone else review your resume for a fresh perspective.

23. Save Your Resume as a PDF

Save your resume as a PDF to ensure that the layout remains intact when opened.

24. Customize the Filename

Customize the filename with your name and the job title to make it easy for the hiring manager to find it.

25. Create an Online Portfolio

Create an online portfolio that showcases your work experience, skills, and certifications. Link your portfolio to your resume.

26. Add Professional Social Media Accounts

Add links to your professional social media accounts like LinkedIn and Twitter. The accounts should reflect your professional persona.

27. Don’t Include Personal Information

Avoid including personal information like your political affiliation, religion, marital status, or ethnicity.

28. Review Your Social Media

Review your social media profiles and make sure that there’s nothing on there that can harm your chances of getting hired.

29. Use a Professional Profile Picture

Use a professional profile picture on your resume, LinkedIn, or other professional social media accounts.

30. Keep It Positive

Focus on the positive aspects of your work experience and avoid negativity.

31. Avoid Overused Terms

Avoid overused terms like “team player” and “results-oriented.”

32. Be Honest

Be honest about your qualifications, work experience, and achievements.

33. Use Active Voice

Use active voice instead of passive voice. This makes your resume more engaging.

34. Avoid Abbreviations and Acronyms

Not everyone understands abbreviations and acronyms. Spell them out for clarity.

35. Highlight Relevant Training and Seminars

Include relevant training, courses, and seminars you’ve attended that relate to the job description.

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36. Use Relevant Keywords in Your Cover Letter

Use relevant keywords from the job description in your cover letter. This can help your application get through ATS.

37. Follow Instructions

Follow the instructions on the job posting when submitting your application.

38. Use a Custom Cover Letter

Write a custom cover letter that reflects your personality, skills, and experience.

39. Address the Hiring Manager

Address the hiring manager by name in your cover letter.

40. Highlight Why You’re the Best Candidate

Explain why you’re the best candidate for the job and how you can add value to the company.

41. Use an Appropriate Closing

End your cover letter with a professional closing that expresses gratitude and optimism.

42. Utilize Professional References

Include professional references in your application. Make sure that you have permission to use their name and contact info.

43. Network With Relevant Professionals

Network with relevant professionals in your industry. They can provide you with valuable insights into the industry and may even introduce you to job openings.

44. Attend Job Fairs and Industry Events

Attend job fairs and industry events to connect with potential employers and learn about job openings.

45. Send Follow-Up Emails

Send follow-up emails to the hiring manager after submitting your application. This shows your interest in the job and may help you stand out from the pool of applicants.

46. Don’t Give Up

Finally, don’t give up if you don’t get an immediate response. Keep honing your skills and improving your resume, and the right job will come along!


What if I have gaps in my employment history?

You can explain the gaps in your cover letter without providing too much information.

Should I include hobbies on my resume?

Only include hobbies that are relevant to the job.

How do I reformat my resume for online applications?

Create a text version of your resume that is easy to copy and paste into online applications.

Can I use colorful designs on my resume?

Avoid using colorful designs or images that may detract from the content.

What if I don’t have any work experience?

Focus on your education, relevant coursework, and any volunteer or internship experience you have.

Optimizing your resume before sending it out can help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting hired. Follow the 46 essential steps outlined in this article and watch as your job prospects improve!

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