Whether you’re looking for a career change in the New Year or simply wanting to add that new skill you learned in 2015, the Holidays are the perfect time to update that dusty, outdated resume you haven’t touched in a while.
A new year means a fresh start, and for a lot of companies, it means new roles to fill. So if you’re looking for new job opportunities, it is important to spruce up that resume so you can stand out from all those other applicants. Even if you’re not seeking a new career path, improving your resume or C/V can help you set new goals for the new year, look back on past accomplishments, identify skills you may want to brush up on and can even prepare you for when you do decide to make that big career move.
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Either way, here are 6 simple, easy tips to spruce up your resume over the Holidays:
1. New Year = New Look
Updating your resume and renewing its appearance will give you a rejuvenated sense of confidence and a fresh start to the New Year. If your resume has had the same layout for 4-5 years, it is time to give it a more modern look. It can still have a conventional format, but it should be done in a more contemporary style. Employers notice unique resume designs, so try to make yours stand out as much as possible.
2. Tailor versions of your resume
When developing your resume, be sure to tailor separate versions to fit each career field or job position you are applying for. Employers may spend only about 30 seconds scanning your resume to determine whether your background and skills match their requirements. An effective resume will convince an employer that you have the skillsets and qualifications for the job you are applying for.
3. Optimize your keywords
Use the same keywords from the job that you are applying in the employment sections of your resume and in any online profiles to improve keyword optimization. For example, if your current title is “Business Systems Analyst” but the job title you are applying for is listed as “IT Supervisor” - and it has essentially the same requirements - then consider listing your position on your resume/profile as “Business Systems Analyst (IT Supervisor)” to help clarify what you are pursuing in the eyes of the hiring manager. Another example would be to take keywords from the job ad and replace existing ones in your skills/qualifications and even profile sections with them to match more closely with the position requirements. For instance, if you have “excellent communication skills” listed on your resume but the job ad has “superior communication skills” listed as a requirement, consider changing it to the word “superior” in order to help with the keyword optimization of your target role.
4. List your most notable achievements for the year.
Review your past year’s accomplishments and make a detailed list of the challenges that you have experienced, the steps you took to overcome those challenges, and summarize your successful accomplishments. Spotlight as many achievements on your resume to help you land that interview you have been waiting for. This will also help you be better prepared in the interview when answering those tough questions.
5. Create a killer "Summary of Qualifications"
For your prospective employer, a Summary of Qualifications can influence your chance of being called in for an interview. Functioning as an intriguing film trailer or the summary found at the back of an alluring book, this key function of the resume section is to impress employers and entice interest about your possible talent. It is essential that your Summary of Qualifications appears within the top section your self-marketing document and your list should be no longer than 3-5 key points. First, brainstorm your skills, experiences and abilities. Treat this like a creative writing exercise, where you can refine and limit your summary later. Next, review and critique your summary on an ongoing basis. Is it targeted? Specific? Have a friend or family member provide you with feedback. Lastly, compare your summary of qualifications with your listed work experience. Your summary should accurately showcase what you have done as well as your competencies.
6. Always look ahead and stay relevant.
Write your resume and social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, to be forward-looking documents that showcase how your accomplishments are not only in alignment with your own future goals but the results desired by a prospective employer. Do not include every job you have had in the past. If your employment history is not related to the job you are applying for, then remove it. You also want to remove any work experience that is outdated 15 or plus years, and ensure that you list achievements that are relevant to the role you are applying for. A full-stack hiring manager will not care that you won that national golf championship in 2010, no matter how proud you are of it. Your resume and profile should promote your career goals while your skills and experiences should help you get that desirable job and add value to the next company that will hire you.
The Workbridge Associates team wishes you a Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year! If you feel like your resume needs some sprucing up and you want a fresh start but you don’t know where to start, please reach out to us - we’d love to help!