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by Vault Careers | September 09, 2011


It's not a shock to let everyone know that the job market remains highly competitive. With no net jobs reported in August 2011, finding one is literally like finding a needle in a haystack. 

For job seekers, it's important to have an updated resume that not only helps them stand out from the crowd, but highlights their talents to ensure they land the best possible position.  Here are four quick tips for making your old resume stand out better:

man holding resume1. Change to a functional resume

Switching from an objective-based resume to a functional one is a good way for job seekers to highlight their skills and focus attention to their career goals, rather than just their job search.

A functional resume eliminates the objective statement all together and replaces it with a expertise or executive summary. The summary should include four or five top skills that best showcase a candidate's talents and responsibilities. These skills are often put into bullet point examples.

Within a functional resume, the summary is typically followed by employment history, then education. Any additional educational, training, volunteer or career notes are then listed in the last section.

2. Streamline

Potential managers usually take about seven seconds to scan a candidate's resume to see if it should be considered for future evaluation. It's important that a resume is short and easy to read. While many job seekers want to cram as much as possible into a one-page overview, a resume shouldn't be bogged down with unnecessary jargon and large numbers. Eliminating salary requirements, references and personal information is another good way to streamline a resume.

3. Specialize

A truly effective resume is one that is customized to fit a specific job opening. Job seekers may want to have a number of different resumes on hand that are tailored to a meet the description of a certain position. Keeping in mind that a human resources manager is often the first one to look at a resume, adding keywords that are geared toward the exact job may also help the candidate stand out in the field by showing exact skills rather than general qualifications.

4. Eliminate dates

For older candidates, dates on a resume can send the wrong message, but leaving out early job positions may not be a good idea if they are relative to a person's work experience. Job seekers can cluster early work experience into a "prior positions held" section and eliminate specific dates. Job seekers should remember that the most effective resume will emphasize skills and talent rather than just serve as a check list of where they worked in the past.

--Published Courtesy of Brafton


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