If you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel,
Change your viewpoint,
Change your viewpoint,
You've grown up. Has your résumé?
Go ahead pull out your most recent copy. How does it look? How old is that version? When did you last add anything or edit the document? Even as someone who helps others with their résumé, I am always surprised by how long ago I updated mine.
1. Update layout
The most important content should be at the top of your résumé as a way to attract the attention of the reader and summarize the content. After you've left school, your education moves to the bottom of the résumé. A career summary speaks to the career you've had and the relevant skills and accomplishments to the career you want. A headline will attract the reader's attention. If you have a lot of varied experience, consider splitting the experience into different sections of relevant and other professional experience.
2. Update style
I am a fan of a simpler style of résumés. A modern, clean, easy to read style will help the prospective employer quickly read the résumé. You can use other people's résumés as inspiration and templates as a way to get started. But, I am not a fan of using templates to craft the complete résumé. I find that the format of templates is typically too constraining for someone with experience.
There is a lot of talk about graphic résumés. This can be a fun way to display your information, but only necessary to graphic designers to use as evidence of their skills.
3. Update substance
Focusing on quantifiable accomplishments will help the reader discover what you can do for them through the evidence of what you've done. Pick a time of year to regularly update your résumé. This can be in conjunction with your annual review or as a new year's resolution. Going through the process of remembering your accomplishments and crafting your stories will help you assess your past year and develop a personal performance plan for the coming year.
To understand the most relevant skills and accomplishment to your intended audience review job descriptions, professional association lists of competencies, LinkedIn profiles of colleagues, and ask. Especially when you are new to a field or a company or considering a transition, ask people who are already established in a field what strengths are critical for success. This helps you focus the substance of your résumé.
4. Ditch the redundant
Leave off the objective and "reference available upon request" lives. Both take away from the positive impression you are trying to make. Avoid only listing responsibilities, especially those that can be assumed based on the job you held. Focusing on accomplishments helps differentiate you from your peers and the competition.
Bottom line is to regular update you résumé so it is ready to connect you with your next opportunity.
Additional tips and samples
If you have a question related to résumés or wish to schedule a coaching session about your résumé, email me at Juilie@BartimusCareerConsulting.com or use the content form..
Julie L. Bartimus,