5 Ways You Should Revamp Your Resume
Job searches have vastly changed with the prevalence of online networking and Internet job postings and submissions, but your résumé is still a vital part of getting an interview and moving forward in the hiring process. So if you feel like your job search has stagnated, or even if you’ve only just begun, you may want to revamp your résumé.
Some experts say you should revisit your résumé once a year to spruce it up. This should be more than just checking for typos and keeping your employment history current (although these are extremely important). When you revamp your résumé, you need to focus on what you are trying to accomplish with it and make sure it’s doing that job as well as possible. You should also have someone else, preferably a mentor in your field, take a look at it and advise you. Here are some things that might help you give your résumé a face-lift:
Use the Right Format
Your résumé format is very important, and you’ve probably already put some effort into choosing a basic font and a clean layout. But when you’re revamping your résumé, you need to decide if you’re using the right format. Rather than a chronological résumé—especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while or are changing career paths—you should consider using a functional or targeted format that will focus more on listing your skills and abilities, rather than an list of your work history by year.
Use your skills and strengths as headlines, and then list accomplishments that demonstrate those skills. You should include a work history at the bottom of your résumé, but limit it to dates, employer names and job titles. As always, keep any type of résumé you decide to use brief. It’s acceptable to go past the standard one-page document if you’ve got a lot of appropriate experience, but anything beyond two pages (or spills to a half page instead of a full page) should be pared down.
Target Your Experience
Because it’s a marketing document, your résumé should be targeted. That means the skills, accomplishments and overall experience you include should be aimed to the specific job you are trying to get. This is something you’ll need to do every time you apply for a different position, but you can also do it during a résumé revamp, especially if your job search has multiple focuses. If you create different résumés for each kind of job you're searching for, then the tweaking you'll have to do when you read a job description will be minimal.
When you’re targeting your résumé, make sure to use a positive spin on your experience— while keeping the document honest. If you can spin your past job duties in a way that shows you understand how your job helped co-workers, your boss, the organization as a whole and the bottom line, then you will be able to clearly show your value to any potential employer, as well as your ability to see the big picture and work as part of a team.
One big misconception about a good résumé is that it should be a chronological, comprehensive list of your past jobs. If it’s time to refresh your résumé to boost your job search, then you need to take a good look at your job descriptions and make sure you emphasize your accomplishments. In doing so, you should illustrate how your achievements helped improve the overall company.
Don’t simply list your job duties; describe what you actually got done at your job. Accomplishments grab more attention than a list of job duties because most of the people you're competing with in applying for a job have also had experience with the same job duties. This kind of focus will also help you target your résumé, as you will want to emphasize different accomplishments depending on the type of job you’re hoping to land.
Be Specific and Use Numbers
Now that you’ve updated your résumé format, targeted your experience and listed your accomplishments, it's time to get specific. If, at your last job, you came up with a new system or helped certain clients, include something tangible to prove it—like the numbers that show just how much your contribution helped the bottom line. Even if you feel that the kind of work you do doesn’t have the obvious and quantifiable results that some other jobs do, take some time to really consider how you can put a number on what you’ve done. Put some effort into coming up with hard data to support your touted accomplishments and you’ll find that your résumé gets you further in the interview process.
Prep for Tech
Chances are, you're more likely to submit your revamped résumé online or by email than you are to send or a hard copy to someone. This means, you need to prepare your résumé for technology. When you get your résumé ready to go, your final step should be creating both ASCII and PDF versions of it. The ASCII version is the one you should use to cut and paste into an online job-submission form; the PDF what you should send in an email.
Another way you have to prep your résumé for tech is by using keywords. As you read job descriptions and LinkedIn profiles of people in your targeted industry, you'll start to notice certain words popping up repeatedly. You'll need to include those keywords in your résumé so that when you submit it for jobs online, it will bypass automated filters that screen out many candidates on the very first cut.
Finally, tailor your résumé for technology by including what computer programs you have experience with. These days, just about every job involves technology, and it will be important for you to communicate what programs you already know how to use, especially if your industry utilizes specific software and tech applications.