The other day we had layoffs at our workplace. A few people I know were asked to leave. I assisted one of my colleagues to revise his resume. And soon I was getting 2/3 resumes a day to look at. I was happy to assist them. What I found though was that their resumes were out of date. Some even worked for about 20 years in our company. they never had to do their resumes.
In a global economy, no one is safe, no job is secured. automation, robotics, shifting priorities, competition, regulation. You name a reason, for which our job security is at the bottom. The only thing we can ensure though is that we get a replacement job somewhere. Your resume is the first impression that you can create a potential new workplace.
Have you looked at your resume lately? If you are currently employed, probably not. Unless you are actively looking for a job, chances are your resume is out-of-date.
It is always good to be prepared with a current resume. You never know what might happen. Your company may cut down on human resources, could go bankrupt or move to another state. It’s best to be prepared and have an up-to-date resume available.
Give it a Facelift
Everything changes with time. What was considered best practices five years ago is no longer the case. You want to make sure your resume looks professional and is consistent with what is currently considered best practices.
Most resumes today are scanned so you want to make sure your format works well with scanning technology.
Give it an Overview
Look at your resume from a fresh perspective. You have changed since you wrote your last resume, whether it be two years or ten years ago.
Your life and work experiences have caused you to see your world through a different lens. You might have new skills and strengths that you will want to add to your new resume.
Did you get any award lately before you last updated your resume? Don’t forget to include it.
Review the Structure
How long ago did you write your resume? If it was right after graduating from college, you probably have your education listed at the top to highlight it.
Now that you have work experience, you will want to move your education down closer to the bottom of the page and move your job history up.
What can you change? If you have jobs on your resume from more than 15 years ago, you should remove the specifics for those jobs. It really isn’t necessary to give details on positions you held many years ago. If a hiring manager is interested in learning more, he can ask you to elaborate during an interview.
Optimize for ATS
You probably heard about ATS, these are automated bots that scan through a number of resumes and find matching ones to the job criteria. They are the first gate for your resume to cross. Make sure you follow the below ATS guidelines
- No image on the resume – they are of no value
- No important information in header or footer
- Make sure your resume is in the format it is asked for – don’t send a word doc if PDF is asked for
- No excessive use of special characters
- No tabular data – ATS can’t decipher them
- Include all the terms that are mentioned in the job requirement – If the program manager is the position you’re applying for, then do include that in your experience. Don’t leave it as “Project manager”, for example.
Add New Content
If you are currently working on a job, you will want to add it to your new resume because it obviously will not be on your old one. There is no need to go through your current job’s to-do list. That is too much information to put on a resume.
Focus on the specific tasks or major initiatives you have been part of. As your current job will be at the top of your new resume, make sure you highlight the most important aspects of your current position.
Use More Bullet Points
There is nothing worse than a cluttered resume. Bullet points can help organize your information into short readable segments.
Check Your Keywords
If you are redoing your resume because you are interested in getting a new job, carefully review the job description for the position you want. The description is full of clues in the form of keywords and phrases that tell you exactly what the hiring manager is looking for.
For instance, if the job posting says a candidate must be familiar with QuickBooks, make sure you have it listed on your resume in an appropriate place.
Take the time to carefully read the job posting and focus on the keywords describing the ideal candidate for the job.
By incorporating those words into your resume, you will stand out from the competition and show clearly how you are the best candidate.
Are you looking to change industries? Perhaps you have been working in retail and would like to work in public relations. At first glance, you probably don’t think your current skills have anything to do with what is needed in the public relations field.
Think about what you have learned in your current industry that can apply to the new one. You might find that you have transferable skills and a different perspective that others might not have.
Do Your Research
If you are looking to change industries that you have no experience in, you will want to do some research and learn as much as you can. Try to show how your background and expertise can be a good fit for the job you are seeking.
There are plenty of places to learn online like industry blogs, trade journals, and by following social media influencers.
Be sure to include the keywords and phrases in your new resume to show that you are informed. Recruiters and hiring managers will take note and appreciate your efforts and confidence.
Do not ignore LinkedIn
Whatever you write on your resume may not be the last reference your future employer will seek. They may go to your LinkedIn profile to know more about you and your interest. I know of people whose Facebook accounts were also checked.
Use Linkedin to interact and network as well as to tell the world about your interests and skills. Have endorsements from people you worked with. A good reference works best in a job interview and helps in the short-listing process.
All the best and make sure you work on your resume before it’s really required!