January - a month of rebuilding and re-evaluating. A time to dust off the treadmill, download that personal budgeting app, and make this year the best one yet.
You may not be in the market for a new career, or even a new fitness routine, but there's one thing that's certain: you would benefit from a resume makeover. Why, you ask? Because your resume isn't only "the most financially important document you'll ever own", but it's also an excuse to evaluate yourself and your goals. And perhaps rewriting it has been lingering on your to-do list for longer than you'd like to admit.
The process of writing a resume is often a revealing and invigorating one. It involves looking at your history and developing a narrative that not only tells the story of your past, but paints a picture of the future. It allows you to see trends in your history that you might not have been previously aware of, acknowledge accomplishments you may have forgotten, and forces you to consider what you truly want out of your professional life.
If you already have a resume, follow these tips to make sure its up-to-date and an accurate representation of your value:
1. Ditch the "objective": It is no longer common practice to state an objective on a resume. Rather, think about the value you present to the company (not what you want to gain from them). Instead of leading with an "objective" section, create a personal profile at the beginning that highlights your most valuable accomplishments and skills.
2. Cut back your experience: Resumes should not go back further than 7-10 years in your professional history, so instead of merely adding experience to your timeline, look to pare it down so that it represents the most relevant information to your potential employer.
3. Use bullets, but carefully: Bullet points help direct the readers eye to key information, and are a valuable formatting tool, especially in your profile. However, overusing them defeats the purpose of the emphasis, so make sure to save your most valuable statements for these areas.
4. References can be saved elsewhere: It's a given that "references are available upon request", so don't use valuable real estate on your resume for this statement. Keep a separate document with references and contact information, formatted to match both your cover letter and resume, so that you have it on hand when they do request them.
5. Quantify whenever possible: Accomplishment statements on a resume should not only express what tasks and duties you have experience with, but also how you specifically added value to the organization you worked for. Use measurable results whenever possible, including $ amounts you earned, time saved on projects, and people you supervised or led.
Of course, writing a resume from scratch can be daunting, especially if you've never had to do one before. If you need a place to start, download my questionnaire that I use for clients in helping gather the appropriate data for the document. This will give you the fundamentals for crafting an effective marketing piece for your career.
Still feeling overwhelmed? You're not alone. Most of us know the basics about resume writing - the categories, the information needed, the layout - but there are many factors involved in creating a document that truly stands out from the rest. What are the trends in your industry? Do you want something simple and traditional, or something more cutting edge? How do you ensure you are communicating your value in the most efficient way possible (remember, most recruiters spend only 10 seconds skimming a resume before committing it to a consideration - or trash - pile)?
I offer resume writing services that give you the confidence you need to go out into the professional world knowing you are represented in the best possible way. I've written hundreds of resumes for clients in every industry and would be happy to help you develop that resume you've been meaning to write.
Please contact me for more information and let's get started!