Resume Writing

Five Top Tips for Keeping Your Resume Current

You can’t open a professional publication, spend any time on LinkedIn, or walk through the professional development section of a bookstore without being inundated with resume advice. Often contradictory.

Seems like every website I google for resumes has templates you can download for free.

I’ve yet to see a good one, but I digress.

Here, then, are my Five Top Tips for Updating your Resume.

Number 5: Keep a file.

Whether it is electronic or paper, keep copies of your performance evaluations, commendations, projects, etc. This will make the process of updating your resume much easier.

Number 4: Remember how Noah did it.

Good ‘ole Noah didn’t wait until it started raining before he got busy with the hammer and nails. Sure, his family and friends thought he was nuts, out there sawing away in the sunshine.

Two major advantages to this approach: The weather’s better while you’re working, and you’re prepared for when the weather turns dicey…and the weather will, eventually, turn dicey.

The parallel: you can either be in crisis mode, updating your resume after the bad thing happens and you’re not thinking clearly. Or you can get ‘er done while the sun is shining.

** Number 3: Your resume should be a marketing document, not a "data sheet." **

When I see a resume focused on where and when someone was employed and what their job duties were (usually in laundry list form), I’m looking at what I call a “data sheet.”

If this sounds like what you’re presenting to prospective employers, hear me loud and clear: This doesn’t work.

What does: a marketing document that is results-focused with hard-hitting bullets that showcase the difference you have made for your employers.

A document that clearly articulates your differentiated value. Some will read it and quickly realize that you’re not right for their position. And that’s okay, because others will read it and quickly realize that you are exactly who they’ve been looking for.

Number 2: Generic works for prescription medication, not resumes.

It’s crucial that you have a job target clearly in mind as you write your resume, and that everything about your resume is in support of that target.

I make the client’s job target the most prominent thing on the resume, because I want the reader to immediately have a context for what he/she is about to look at.

Further, I create a Summary of Qualifications section at the top of the resume that speaks directly to that job target.

** Number 1: Hire a certified professional resume writer. **

You didn’t really think I’d pass up the opportunity to plug my profession, did you? Here’s the thing: I had written resumes for years before obtaining my certification.

I had worked for nearly 20 years in college career services, helping college students write their resumes.

But I didn’t know what the heck I was doing until I obtained my Academy Certified Resume Writer designation.

(Having said all of that, not all professional resume writers are created equal.)

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