A week or so into the New Year and the gyms are still full, networking events are brimming and connection requests are flying. Many are working hard on those New Year’s Resolutions!
If one of your resolutions included making a change in your career there is one thing you need to do before sending out your resume:
Conduct a year-end review
This review should include your past year of experience, schooling or volunteering and the visual aspects and readability of your resume.
Following these seven steps will help tweak your 2015 resume to a forward-moving, value driven 2016 resume.
If it has been longer than a year since your last resume update, start at that time. Look back at your history and for each position and time period, answer the following questions:
• What did I improve?
• How did I grow?
• What did I learn?
• How did I contribute?
• What changed in my role?
If you realize that your current resume is simply a copy of your job description, you will want to redefine that before identifying improvements. Redirect your bullet points to address the following questions:
• What is my role/what do I do?
• How do I perform these responsibilities?
• Who benefits?
• How do they benefit?
• How do I work with them?
• What is the value that I add as an individual contributor?
• What is the result?
Answering these questions transforms duties (I was hired to do this) into value statements (this is what I do, how and how it creates value). Your bullet points will now be demonstrative statements of your expertise, skills and abilities.
Revise any credentials and expertise including training, degrees or certifications earned or attended should be updated and included.
Have you learned new skills that should now be included in your ‘Proficiencies’ section or included in your opening statement?
If you have had more than one position within the same company, consider combining the positions under one heading of the company rather than listing them independently.
At first glance, they will look like two separate jobs so combining gives visual strength.
If the move is more in alignment with where you want to go, combining the positions allows you to tell the story of being at the company with the emphasis on the most recent position. It is not necessary to give each position equal space.
If you have had several positions within the same company moving up along the way, you can utilize an opening statement for the company stating that you began in X position and through a series of promotions into positions of increased authority and accountability lead to the current position of Y.
This allows you to direct your career history with the company to emphasize the elements that are most important to your next move.
A general rule of thumb is ten years for your career history. There are exceptions; this is just a generally acceptable expectation to detail the last 10 years of experience.
Work history prior to that time can be included as line items without detailed explanations.
Is it time to either remove ancient history, or just condense to make more room for more recent accomplishments and value?
Right under your letterhead you should have an opening paragraph answering an employer’s most important question: “What can you do for me?” How has this changed since your last revamp? Does it still represent what you have to offer and what you want to do?
If your resume begins with an objective statement detailing what you are looking, revamp it to answer the ‘what can you do for me’ question.
This is your introduction; it should entice the reader to continue reading your resume. This is where you demonstrate and introduce your skills, abilities, expertise and value.
A potential employer does not care what you want; they want to know how you can help them.
Research similar or desired positions. Look at job descriptions, job postings and LinkedIn profiles. Are there any phrases, key words or ideas that align more with what you want to say or represent you in your resume? Incorporate those into your resume.
Is your resume feeling a little stale when you look at it? Try Googling “resume sample” and click on images. Look at, do not read, all the examples that are flooded onto your screen. Is there one that really catches your eye? Recreate the format for your own resume.
If the format stood out to you, there is a good chance it will stand out to potential employers.
It is your resume, make it your own.
Utilizing these seven tips can help get your resume into a much more ready state to leverage your resume to realize your New Year’s Resolution for your career.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc, a national career coaching and practice firm, I am a Brand Strategist, Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, sales teams, leadership and companies to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
In other words: I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.
Click – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about Career Polish and what we can do to help you.