With the long days and warm summer heat behind us, fall is a great time to get back into the swing of reality for everyone, including myself! Children are back in school and for many companies a new fiscal year is commencing. Labour Day to Christmas is usually a very active interview season and as a result, September is a perfect month to update your resume and be prepared for any and all opportunities that come knocking at your door.
An initiative that was spearheaded by Career Directors International is “International Update Your Resume Month” – a month long movement in September meant to highlight the importance of keeping an up-to-date resume by your side at all times. You never know…. This could be your year for career advancement, change or transition – so it is best to be prepared for whatever comes your way by having a resume ready to go! Just think how great it will be to calmly sit back and relax while all your peers and colleagues scramble at the last minute trying to update their resume for the perfect opportunity.
Now, I would normally suggest that your resume be tailored and customized for each specific job posting – ensuring that keywords and accomplishments are optimized for that company and the role. However, there are steps you can take today to make that last step easy!
1 – WORK BACKWARDS
This goes against the norm, but I suggest that you begin from the end of your current resume and work your way to the top. This will help alleviate the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start and will help kick-start your brain to think about your accomplishments and achievements in the process.
To do this, look at the end of your resume and see if there are any new workshops, professional training, awards or relevant volunteer experience you can add. At the same time, examine your document to see if there are courses and training that you should remove because it is no longer relevant to your career target.
2 – REMOVE OUTDATED POSITIONS AND DUTIES
Still working from the bottom to the top, examine your employment history. Do you really need that job from 15 years ago on your resume? Is it relevant to your current career target?
If not, remove it completely. If it is, parse through the accomplishments and duties to shorten the description. At the end of the day, it is your most recent experience that requires the most amount of attention.
3 – WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
This is where you need to turn your attention to your most recent and relevant work experience. Think about what all you have accomplished since your last resume update. Write your current experience in light of your career target. Did you find a way to save time, cut costs or improve performance? Think in terms of quantifiable accomplishments that can highlight your added value to a prospective employer. Try to answer the question: “why should we hire you” with each accomplishment and statement you write.
4 – REPLACE THE OBJECTIVE STATEMENT WITH A PROFILE SUMMARY
Time and time again I review resumes that still contain an objective statement. Please, please, please…. If you don’t take any other advice, please just remove the objective statement from your resume. Competition is too tight these days to make demands on your resume and tell an employer what you want from them. Instead, replace this statement with an action-driven, high-impact profile summary that highlights your buying motivators and added value to the prospective employer. Tell them in your summary why you are the best candidate for the job through strong, result oriented accomplishments.
5 – UPDATE THE FORMAT AND DESIGN
You can’t update the content of your resume without updating the look and feel of it! Your resume needs to look fresh and clean if you want to grab attention and stand apart. Simple steps like adding a splash of colour and removing the pre-formatted template can go a long way to updating the “feel” of your resume.
Also, think about including a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume and then update your online profile so it is ready for recruiters to find you!
Another good idea is to have your resume ready in different file formats. It is a great time to make sure your resume is ready in a PDF, text only, and Microsoft Word format so that you are ready to present your document in which ever format the employer requests.
6 – PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, AND PROOFREAD SOME MORE…
There is nothing worse than having a great looking resume, packed with value-added accomplishment statements, that is full of grammatical and spelling mistakes. This simple step is often the one most over-looked. My suggestion is to step away from the document for a few days and then go back and review for errors and mistakes. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and that the formatting is consistent throughout the document. After this, I still recommend you have a friend review the document for errors!
And now, you can rest and relax knowing you have an updated resume ready and waiting for the perfect opportunity to come knocking on your door! Good luck.
Thank you for reading my blog! If you have any questions or are seeking direct resume writing and job search assistance, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day!