It’s summer and we are nearly half-way through 2013. Have you taken the time to reflect on your accomplishments so far this year? In fact, if you haven’t done so in a few months, it could be a great time to refresh your resume, adding the new accomplishments and deleting work and educational experiences that are no longer pertinent to your career goals.
Updating your resume can be time consuming and almost always requires writing multiple drafts; in fact, for some it can be overwhelming to get started. I suggest that if you want to take your resume to the next level that you work with a resume buddy (or career coach) to help put into words the best of what you have to offer and to ensure that the reader will understand your meaning. To that end, here are a few tips to consider before you approach the task:
Be able to match key information to the job. To use an analogy, view your resume as if you were putting together the perfect outfit. Recruiters and hiring managers will spend only about 10 seconds to scan your resume, so you must make a positive first impression. Choose every piece of information you include carefully, and make sure the first TOP THIRD of your resume packs a punch. Include key words that when scanned by a computer will help you pass the applicant screening system. Use job descriptions for desired openings listed in Indeed.com to find key words and phrases, match them to your career highlights, and list them as qualifications.
Be willing to part with irrelevant data. You lived it and may have loved it, but you don’t have to keep work or educational experiences from the past. The resume is no longer a historical catalog of job descriptions and duties. Yes, some recruiters will scan to see the sequence of work, and it’s still recommended to include a work history. However, going back past 15- 20 years may be too far unless the accomplishment is relevant or noteworthy. Unless you won an award or you worked as a Peace Corps volunteer or did something that your next employer would value, consider parting with it.
Be future focused. Emphasize accomplishments, work history, and education that will be particularly interesting to hiring managers in your next opportunity. Remember, while the resume captures your highlights and sells your valuable contributions up until now, include only the best examples that will appeal to a hiring manager for the role you are seeking.
Be selective of the positions you pursue. If you don’t meet at least 80 percent of the work requirements, including the core skills for the job, it could be a waste of time for you to apply in the first place. What the popular press terms the “spray and pray” approach of applying for jobs can be counter-productive; staffing professionals advise instead that you target your career objective and apply for roles that fit. If something is interesting but less than an 80 percent match, see if you can network with a personal contact or LinkedIn connection to learn about the company/role.
If after reading this article and finishing that glass of iced tea you are ready to chart your accomplishments and update your resume, contact WorkPaths Consulting for professional assistance.