Does Your Resume Check All the Boxes?

Does Your Resume Check All the Boxes? was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Putting together a resume takes time and effort, whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping a resume for a new job or a total career change. 

It’s tough to know when you’re done with your resume—and ready to send it off to hiring managers and recruiters for that executive job opening—or if it still needs a little more tweaking. Of course, the more storied your experiences and the more relevant your skills, the better your resume will read. But, there are also some steps you can take to really fine-tune your resume, whether you’re the most experienced candidate or not.

Here are seven items you should check to know if your resume is ready—and to make sure that your resume actually gets noticed.

Correct contact information

Is your contact information correct and up to date? Make sure that the email and phone number you provide are still the best ways to reach you. The last thing you want is for a hiring manager or recruiter to notice your resume and then try to reach out for an interview to no avail.

Relevant headline

Make sure that the headline you put on your resume if you choose to use one, is relevant. For example, if you’re applying for an executive-level job position, but the headline on your resume from previous job applications doesn’t suggest that, make sure to update it. You want your headline to reflect where you are in your career and the industry in which you’re applying. If you’ve held very similar titles to the job for which you’re applying, lean into that.

Proper spelling and grammar

Always make sure to do a grammar check before sending it off to potential employers. If you’re using Google Docs to create it, you can run it through a “spelling and grammar check.” If you’re using another document software or designing your resume on a design site like Canva, be sure to run it through a grammar check after. 

Grammarly is a popular tool you can use to check your resume. It’s a cloud-based typing assistant you can download as an extension or use on the web. It checks your spelling and grammar, and it also optimizes your text for clarity, engagement, and more.

Mirrored language 

Using mirrored language in your application materials is one surefire way to get your resume noticed. Mirrored language is a language that reflects the same language in the job advert of the opening for which you’re applying. Often, hiring managers and recruiters will quickly skim resumes keeping an eye out for those keywords and phrases.

If they use an applicant tracking system, which is software to scan resumes for them, having mirrored language that’s easily detectable is even more important. In fact, 75 percent of recruiters use some sort of applicant tracking system at some point in the hiring process.

Simple formatting

Is your resume easy to follow with simple formatting? If not, it’s not quite ready yet. You want to make sure that your resume is accessible to the average reader. That means you should have about a 10- to 12-point font and adequate spacing between lines and sections.

Updated skills and education

If you’re revamping an old resume, make sure that you’ve touched up your skills section and the education portion of your resume. If you’ve gotten another degree, snagged another certification, or developed new skills since the last time you updated your resume, you want to include all of that—or, at least, what’s relevant to the job for which you’re applying.

Pertinent experiences

Your experiences section is the most important section on your resume. Potential employers can learn where you’ve worked, for how long you’ve worked at the companies on your resume, what positions and titles you’ve held, and more. This all helps to paint a picture of who you are as a professional, so hiring managers and recruiters can get an idea of where your career is headed—and whether or not that’s with their company.

This also means that you may need to clean up your experiences section. If you’re applying for an executive-level position with a financial firm, for example, the employer doesn’t necessarily need to know about your marketing gig ten years ago. While your experiences don’t need to fit all on one page anymore, you should narrow down your most important and telling experiences to fit on a page or two (at most).

Never send a resume out to a potential employer before giving it a close look for all of these elements. Once you’ve checked all these boxes (and scoped out Ivy Exec’s resources on everything from top executive resume tips to what not to include on your resume), your resume should be ready to go.

Unfortunately, however, you’re not quite done yet. Check out Ivy Exec’s tips on what else you need to accompany your resume—because, nope, resumes alone are no longer enough.


By AnnaMarie Houlis - Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.