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How to build a better résumé: Tips and advice from expert

Posted at 4:36 PM, May 14, 2020

Job seekers amid the COVID-19 crisis are having to freshen up their resume, possibly for the first time in a while. And if they're like most people, they're probably looking it over and wondering: How do I make this better?

Through our series, The Rebound Colorado, we talked with Paul Wolfe, senior vice president for global human resources at Indeed, about his best practices for building your resume and what employers are looking for.

Watch our full interview with Paul in the video above. Go here for more resources from The Rebound.

Here are the highlights:

• Pay close attention to the job description. This sounds simple, but be sure to take note of the specific skills and experience that an employer is seeking in a job description. Your resume should highlight your own skills and experience that match those posted in the job description.
"You don't need to create a new resume for every single application," Wolfe said, "but make sure you're highlighting the things that are called out in the job description."

• Double check for grammar mistakes or typos. Another simple one — but important, nonetheless. Have a friend or family member read through your finished product to make sure there are no mistakes.

• "Be brief and be gone," Wolfe said. Trying to keep your resume brief and succinct is a challenge but crucial to making a good first impression on an employer.

Use bullet points instead of long sentences or paragraphs. Another way to convey your experience succinctly is by using data to show your skillset. For example, Wolfe said, if you increased revenue for a client by 125%, use that specific information rather than simply writing that you helped increase revenue.

"This is typically a hiring manager or recruiter's first look at you," Wolfe said. "How can you sell yourself in the best way possible, but also really quickly? ... You can tell the rest of your story when you called for the phone interview."

• What are employers looking for? Again, pay close attention to the specific qualifications on the job description. Those skills and experience are typically in a list and prioritized from top to bottom, Wolfe said. When recruiters look through resumes, they'll go through a "yes," "no" or "maybe" process of whether a candidate's experience and skills match what the job needs.

"The job description and resume are kind of the yin and the yang," Wolfe said. "The employer writes this job description, and the resume is almost the counter to that on the job seeker side, trying to sell themself."

More resources from Indeed

Indeed allows job seekers to search for job openings and also offers resources for career help, including a free resume builder.

Indeed also features a career guide with different insights on finding a job and applying and a section specific to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed recently added a feature to its database — job seekers with a profile on Indeed can add "#readytowork" to their profile, so employers that are hiring quickly can find those prospective employees.