Some fads flame out quickly, others have real staying power because they positively affect people’s lives. Such is true of the KonMari method of tidying up. With two bestselling books, a hit Netflix show, and a burgeoning business of certified consultants, Marie Kondo knows a few things about clutter control, and her guiding rules of orderly organization work beyond closets and crawlspaces. By clearing the clutter of your professional resume, you allow recruiters, hiring managers, and potential employers to see the best version of yourself.
RULE 1: Commit yourself to tidying up your resume. It’s tempting to simply tweak a few adjectives or rewrite an objective when applying to several positions. But minor changes aren’t as effective as presenting a tailored resume to a tech recruiter or hiring manager—and that takes time. Block out a few hours to deep dive into the functionality and efficiency of your resume, and allow yourself the space to address what works, what doesn’t and how to fix it.
RULE 2: Imagine your ideal career. The KonMari Method notes that “people have been drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking.” Doesn’t your career path deserve the same careful thought and attention as your closet? Whether it’s your dream job or a dream company, finding that perfect next step in your career should be a deliberate and purposeful. Once decided, you’ll have a better idea of how to align your resume to reach that exciting next level.
RULE 3: Finish discarding first. This can be tough, as everything on your resume might seem important to your professional IT journey. But a discerning edit can clear distracting items and allow more nuanced items to shine through. Comb through your resume to highlight only the most important, quantifiable and engaging elements to the position or company, not to you. Including your stint as a radio DJ in college might seem like a good way to inject personality onto a boring resume but it only serves to distract the recruiter or hiring manager from seeing your relevant qualifications and successes.
RULE 4: Tidy by category. According to the KonMari Method, tidying by category is a good way to determine usefulness and effectiveness. For your resume, consider grouping experience in categories that match what recruiters and companies are looking for, such as a specific skillset, certifications or management experience instead of relying on chronological order. This restructure can be especially important for people with less technical skills because it highlights other assets—including soft skills—that are just as important to a company’s ecosystem.
RULE 5: Follow the right order. This rule is about how items are laid out and navigated. A standout resume will have a cohesive balance between white space and text, aligned margins and uniformity in style and format. Have a trusted friend or mentor look over your resume, with special consideration for flow, clarity and design. Is it visually interesting? Crowded? Does it answer basic questions about you? Do you have quantifiable numbers to support your claims? From a design perspective, does your resume look cookie-cutter, or is there room to play more interesting visual elements? A great resume is engaging and inviting, not distracting and messy.
RULE 6: Ask yourself if your resume sparks joy. In the case of a resume, a more appropriate question might be “Does it spark interest?” You want your resume to inspire engagement, curiosity, positive feelings. Phrases like proficient in…, excelled at…, facilitated projects from beginning to end… are black holes on the page, draining all the shine from the real stars—your accomplishments.
Want more tips to make your IT resume standout? Check out these seven ways to help your IT resume stand out from the competition.