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6 Tips to Refresh Your Resume

Posted March 19, 2014 by Denise DeGennaro in Building Your Brand
Spring is almost officially here! Whether you’re in the chilly Northeast or have been enjoying a mild winter in the Cali,  March 20 is the official date of spring. A spirit of newness is abound in the spring! As we bid adieu to the winter doldrums, we welcome the opportunity to spring clean. While I love cleaning and organizing my apartment as much as the next Career Girl (or not), I got to thinking about other ways we can refresh and renew for spring. Resumes tend to be forgotten when they aren’t in use. Why not use spring cleaning as an excuse to pull it out and dust it off?

Something I’ve noticed is that a common mistake in resume is use of the same word or phrase over and over at the beginning of each bullet point. While it sounds harmless, this has a few consequences. The reader may lose interest in what you are trying to get across when they see the same phrase over and over. This leads to your point being lost since the reader is losing focus. In addition, you may be underselling your accomplishments by not describing them in the best possible language. Remember, your resume is speaking on your behalf! By doing a quick screen of the beginning sentence of each of your bullets, you can make a big difference in the quality of your resume.

Here’s how:

  1. Open your resume file on your computer (or print it out if you prefer)
  2. Screen the first word of each of your bullet points where you describe your previous positions and accomplishments.
  3. Highlight/bold/circle every repeated word, any time you say “responsible for,” “responsibilities included,” “assist,” and “execute.”
  4. Do a Google search for “list of action verbs” (hint: college career centers post these…here and here are some)!
  5. Re-read your bullets and replace any highlighted/bold/circled words with a fitting action verb!
  6. While you’re at it, check to make sure your bullet points are in the proper tense – present for your current position, and past for any positions you are no longer in.

And viola! A quick screen of your resume and it is fresh and ready to go.

About the Author

Denise DeGennaro

Denise DeGennaro is a student affairs professional who helps undergrad and graduate students (and sometimes friends and family) at all stages in their transitions from school to career. She is an expert resume and cover letter writer and reviewer. Denise received her Master's in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Outside of work, Denise enjoys all things girly and loves testing out the latest beauty and nail art trends.