We have previously discussed what you can cut out of your resume if you find that it’s too lengthy. But what if you feel that you don’t have enough information to flesh it out? You’re a well-rounded person; shouldn’t your resume reflect that? Some see a thin resume as a place for opportunity: CVs with more empty space mean more options to elaborate on your specific skills and experiences than CVs with little wiggle room. But for others, specifically those in entry-level positions, it’s common to feel that they don’t have enough real professional experience. Here are 6 things you can do to help bulk up your resume if it looks lacking in valuable details.
- Include volunteer work and independent projects. Don’t have any nonprofit industry experience, but want to get your foot in the door? Volunteer at a local charity and detail your responsibilities in your employment history. Did you work on a project related to your field in the past? Include that, too. As long as they’re relevant and appropriate, you should include any and all work-related experiences in your resume. This also (especially!) includes internships.
- Expand on your skills. Many professionals argue over the merit of a functional resume (one that focuses more on skills than employment history), so don’t provide so many skills that your resume looks like a list, but do include as much useful information as you can. For example, if you’re looking for a job in IT, be sure to include any proficiency you may have with relevant software.
- Start a blog that’s related to your industry. This is always a great way to showcase your interests, knowledge, and involvement in your field. Include a link to it on your resume and, if you need extra padding, include a brief description of it either in its own section or in work history. Keep the blog up-to-date and showcase your work on it, if possible. This is a great way to provide an entire portfolio in your resume without the bulk.
- Split up long job listings. For example, should you need to flesh out your employment history section and have had a long run at a single company, you can split it into two different listings at the point of a major promotion or shift in duties. If you started as an intern or a coordinator and were promoted to a new position with different responsibilities, create a separate listing for that. This gives you the space to expand on what you did over the course of your time there, as you’ll have room to list your responsibilities for each separate position you held.
- Outline and expand upon accomplishments. If you’re applying for an entry-level position, including honors you received in school could be helpful. If you’re further into your career, flesh out some accomplishments or achievements you earned at your previous positions.
- Detail your duties in your job history. This is where you have more freedom than on a tight resume; where you would normally use up space to include more past experiences, you can instead elaborate on the quality of your experiences. Mention specific projects or duties that are relevant to the position(s) you’re applying for, and do so in measurable results. For example, if you helped to increase sales for one of your clients in one of your previous positions, include a concrete number, such as the percentage of increased sales year over year.
You never want to seem like you’re intentionally padding your resume, but the fact is, a well-rounded CV will usually win over a skimpy one. The rule of thumb is to never include anything irrelevant or superfluous. Instead, focus on the relevant experience you’ve had, and don’t forget to include some experiences you may have overlooked in the past. Many past experiences and skills you picked up along the way may be more applicable to future opportunities than you may think.