Happy New Year! Happy New Resume!

by Megan Koehler

New Year

It’s that time of year when resolutions abound and new leaves are turned over. Make your resolution this year to create a resume that will meet your needs, blow away hiring managers, and ultimately land you the job of your dreams! That’s right, instead of vowing to sculpt your abs, work on sculpting your resume into a leaner, meaner version of its old self.

Executive resume expert, Laura Smith-Proulx, has some suggestions that will make your resume ready for this new year.

Explore using an infographic or chart to display impressive achievements on your resume. In general, we are a visual bunch. We respond well to things we can see. An illustrated example of an accomplishment can have a much larger impact than the same accomplishment written out. Consider integrating a pie chart, bar graph, or other visual graphic into your resume to highlight your achievements.

Make an extra effort on your resume to use specific language that avoids vague generalities that could apply to anyone. Avoid indistinguishable and ambiguous descriptions such as experienced, successful, advanced, managed, etc. Include precise examples of what you have accomplished that will show your unique value and that don’t apply to everyone else in the same field. How did you go above or beyond? You will want to show what they will gain by hiring you.

Don’t be afraid to buck the trends. There is no book of rules for resumes. There are however countless resources that suggest a variety of techniques and strategies for you to use. It’s not that easy though; while they may be fantastic ideas not every suggestion will work for every job seeker. Take for example the first thing I talked about above, charts and infographics. While this can be a powerful tool it does not work for every job seeker. If you do not have impressive results an infographic will have the opposite effect.

Some additional tips for your new resume:


Too often job seekers err on the side of modesty when it comes to their resume. They don’t want to come off as a braggart or overconfident so they downplay the significant contributions they have made or accomplishments they have achieved. If this sounds like you, you need to stop this way of thinking immediately. Resolve to emphasize the best moments of your career in order to impress the heck out of your reader. Your resume is your best marketing tool; failure to use it to sell yourself to prospective employers will severely impact your job search. There is a fine line between aggressive and arrogant so make sure you pay attention to that line when creating your resume.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color!

A subtle but effective technique is using color on your resume. I think this is a trend that is ready to make a move. Anticipate that the use of color on resumes is something that we will see more of. A little color can go a long way on your resume. I’m not suggesting an entire resume printed in color but using color as an accent for your name or section borders can give your resume an entirely new look.

Resolve to make a change to your resume in the New Year. It’s a great time to try out some new strategies and it may be a resolution you are able to stick with as it’s relatively painless, and won’t take as much time to reap the benefits of your efforts.

This article was initially published on WorkAlpha.

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