By Candice White
Did you know September is Update Your Resume Month? The back-to-school time of year is a great reminder to also think about your career aspirations. When was the last time you updated your resume? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably been too long. Don’t wait until you spot your dream job and need to apply by … yesterday!
With a little bit of planning, refreshing your resume does not have to be overwhelming. Maintain a running list of your accomplishments and any new skills you’ve learned. Save that with your past performance reviews and schedule time to revise your resume twice a year. If you’re super motivated, you can spend just half an hour a month to keep it current and be ready for whatever opportunities come your way.
Best practices for writing resumes have changed over the last few years. Here are some tips to keep your resume current and maximize your chances of getting an interview when that great job comes into view:
- Target your resume for each position you apply to, making it very clear why you would be a great match and using applicable keywords for the position and industry.
- Include phone number, email address, and your city, state, and ZIP in the contact information — you DO NOT need your full street address. Add in your LinkedIn URL if your profile is up to date.
- Leave no doubt what position you’re applying for. Place the job title front and center, right underneath your name and contact information.
- Lead with a short summary paragraph that highlights your strengths and unique values.
- Keep your layout simple using clear headings for the different sections.
- Reverse chronological order is the best way to display your professional experience. Start with your most recent job and work your way backwards.
- Write as tightly as possible using bullets and very short paragraphs to keep your resume easy to scan by busy readers.
- Use descriptive verbs that showcase your accomplishments. Quantify if you saved your employer time or money and explain how you solved challenges.
- Always proofread for typos and grammatical errors and enlist friends or family to proofread too.
- Please, please don’t use a template! They don’t work well with online applications and can be very tricky to edit.
- Exclude references or why you left positions but be prepared to address those in the interview process.
So, no more excuses – get cracking and bring your resume up to date so you can confidently be prepared for your next application! If you’d like a helping hand, Ignite Career Center coaches are all certified resume writers who love to create effective resumes. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today at bit.ly/ignite-resume-review.
Candice White is a Career Coach at the Ignite Career Center of Jewish Community Services
Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. To learn more, visit ignitecareercenter.com or call 410-466-9200.