7 Tips For Sending Your Best Resume to Achieve Career New Year Resolutions

writingA 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.

1. Question

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.

2. Update

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?

3. Combine

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.

4. Cut

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?

5. Revamp

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.

6. Research

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.

7. Reformat

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.

New Year’s Resolutions – Ain’t Gonna Happen!

“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” ~Oscar Wilde

“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” ~Mark Twain

I love these two quotes – and they pretty much sum up how I feel about New Year Resolutions – I don’t put a lot of stock in them.

I do not make them – ever.

I had a friend who regularly made New Year Resolutions; once during a light debate about making resolutions he told me with pride that one of his resolutions he made eight years ago still sticks. That’s great, glad you don’t bite your nails anymore. Ick.

But one big list one time a year?

That really does not work for me. And why January 1, New Year’s Day? The Chinese New Year does not even start until January 23 so that throws a little wrench in things.

By the way, 2012 will be the year of the Dragon which is said to be bringing blessings of harmony, virtue, riches, fulfillment and longevity. Yea Dragon! Bring it on!

Why not make them on your birthday – after all, logically, that is when your personal new year starts? Just a thought.

Back to my original thought; I don’t make New Year Resolutions because I have some illusion that I need not change anything about myself – trust me, I’m fully aware of habits I need to modify!

It is a pressure thing. I have enough pressure in my life why on earth would I add a list that I am forced to come up with in two days and feel the need to complete it starting RIGHT NOW? I do not need that kind of stress.

Don’t put that kind of stress on yourself – it is not healthy. If you feel the need to make a resolution make it because it is truly something you want to change, not because some weird social pressure to accommodate a tradition that is effectively vacated within 30 days.

So all you fellow rebels out there join me in effectively thumbing our collective noses at resolutions!

I will not make the standard resolutions of working out, eat healthier, break a bad habit or two or change my entire schedule. I will not set myself up to fail because I am honest with myself and know the following:

1. Although I love a great work out, I have to get to a point at which I can’t stand it anymore and finally throw myself into it. Kind of like cleaning a certain room, you can let it pass for so long then one day it just sends you over the edge and you go through with a flame thrower.
2. I’m that annoying person that gets so consumed within projects that I forget to eat – seriously. So my main thing is to remember to eat period. Think I’m kidding? Yeah, well, this is why my best friend, son and another friend regularly ask me if I have eaten each day.
3. I still enjoy my certain bad habits and have no desire to change them so therefore I know I won’t.
4. My day is not typical and you cannot force a square peg in a round hole so making myself conform to a stringent exact schedule would be torture and immediate failure for me. Why would I want to make myself feel like a failure? Seriously.

So if you feel the need to make a resolution, do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself. If you didn’t have the ability to complete the task yesterday what makes January 1 a magical transformative day that now you can? Set yourself up for success.

But, I do have friends that insist on asking, “But if you did make a resolution, what would it be?” Apparently nothing I had said to this point sunk in, so it is easier to just play along. So, if I were to make a New Year’s Resolution, I guess it would be just one thing:

Be more tolerant.

This is also something that I wish more people would adopt, the world needs more tolerance. It seems so simple, but in my world it is much more complex.

More tolerance for myself personally: what I mean by this is to remember to accept myself and not feel the need to apologize for who I am. I could not say it any better than Marilyn Monroe:

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

More tolerance for others: I judge others not by their words or intentions rather by their actions. I’m a wordsmith so I know how easy it is to come up with just the right thing to say, but the importance is in presentation, implementation and completion – i.e. action. I wish to be more tolerant of others in accepting their inaction. Whether it is by choice or inability is not mine to determine, just accept. I will let go of the need to defend, analyze or hope for anything different than what others chose to do – that goes for family, friends, colleagues and clients.

Family. I’ve had family that have made decisions that I do not agree with and tried to help or influence; I will accept that these are their choices and I can support the person without supporting the decision and be tolerant of the person that they are, not who I wish or know they can be. They love me despite my stubbornness, impatience and every other nagging quality – it is time I am more tolerant of their qualities and love them as a whole.

Colleagues/Clients. I’ve had potential clients that could not pull the trigger, could not commit to embarking on something that would bring them great personal and professional benefit. I will be more tolerant in understanding that commitment comes from within; no matter how much I want to help, I am not able to do so until they open the door themselves. I will no longer take this on as my own – it is not something that I could say or do differently, they will be ready when they are ready.

People in general. Sometimes I think people act intolerant of others due to lack of life experiences. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own little world that when we feel someone acted unjustly to us we take it personally. I refuse, I choose to give the benefit of the doubt and let them and myself go on living our lives without placing importance on insignificant acts.

So if there were to be any New Year’s Resolutions, my wish would be that we all give ourselves the gift of tolerance – learn to accept and love ourselves and others as we are, not as we hope to be, but as we stand right here right now. From that we can gain peace, joy and strength to then move forward in modifying behaviors or habits to bring about the things that give us the greatest happiness.

Blessings for the new year!

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.

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