Updating your resume is a necessary task every time you’re planning on working somewhere new. This isn’t always easy, especially if you have been either out of the workforce or at the same position for a long period of time. Technology has changed things significantly, so we’re here to catch you up.
Focus on the Resume’s Top Third
You don’t have much time to get a hiring manager’s attention! Your resume gets about 6 seconds of attention. You need to make sure that this first impression of you is accurate. Make sure it’s the most important information first! Keep it related to the industry you’re applying to. Choose a clean looking and professional font. Times New Roman is now overused and easily ignored. Choose something like Garamond, Cambria, Helvetica, or Georgia. All of them are easy to read, prints cleanly, and look sleek. Choosing a font that is easy to read makes sense for all those times you have to upload it to online job boards.
Make sure that your resume starts with your most recent position! It’s called the reverse chronological resume, but it’s the standard. Starting with the first job you’ve ever had from ten years ago can cost you the position. If it isn’t clear what you have been up to recently, then it’s often assumed that you haven’t been doing anything.
Don’t Put Your Physical Address
If your phone number and email address are both current, why does someone need to know where you live? In this era of technology, there is no reason to include your physical address unless you’re still mailing physical copies of your resume out – and here’s hoping that you aren’t. It may be traditional, but it’s also giving out more personal information. Hiring managers and recruiters will need a town and a zip code in order to make sure you can handle the commute. There is no reason to include your post office box or physical address. Don’t give out more information than you need to!
Have a Professional Email Address
Contacting someone using “firstname.lastname@example.org” doesn’t come off like a serious job applicant. Most email servers will let you connect a more professional one “email@example.com” to your original one, assuming you’re staying loyal to the same email server. If you can’t picture changing your main email address, then connect a professional one to your main one. If they both have the same email server (gmail, yahoo, etc) than they can be connected. Once connected, your main email address will alert you if you get mail at the other address and can forward it on. You can set it up once and have it working constantly. This way your email address on your resume won’t embarrass you professionally and you can keep using your original email address.
Your Resume Objective Isn’t Crucial
Your top third of the resume is what is scanned first, so make it count! Don’t assume the hiring manager has time to hear all about your life goals-they want to know what you can do for them. If your last job isn’t related to the one you’re applying for, put your skills first and show how you’re the best fit. Or if you just graduated from college, put your degree and education first. Stay-at-home parents or caretakers re-entering the workforce could use a short objective would make more sense followed by a list of your relevant skills.
Include Numbers If Possible
Achievements are crucial to showing off your skills. While past performance doesn’t always indicate future results, it can give hiring managers an idea of what kind of performance to expect. Be sure to write down your accomplishments in terms of numbers wherever possible. Check out the difference between these two:
- Managed 25 people and trained 3 managers each quarter for 6 years
- Managed people and trained managers each quarter for a few years
Using specifics makes a definite difference to anyone who is hiring! This shows your specific skills in hard data and that helps build the hiring manager’s trust in you that you’re really this capable.
Try using bullet points! When writing your job description, you can easily clean up whole paragraphs by making bullet points instead. Posting just your achievements (using numbers) in bullet points is not only easier for hiring managers to quickly scan, but also gets right to the point.
If bullet points won’t work, try a graph or chart. Your resume needs to stand out in a wide field of resumes! This is particularly true if you’re up against many other resumes or if you don’t know how many other people are applying for the same position. Yours needs to be interesting!
Use Live Links For a Portfolio
In-person portfolios are no longer necessary when the internet is an option. If you are in a creative industry that requires a portfolio, it may be worth it for you to spend the time making your own website. This is considerably easier to do than it was a few years ago. Using a template from WordPress or GoDaddy can save you hours of time. No need to learn coding! If you can type and drag and drop your images, you can make a basic online portfolio. Using a live link of where the hiring manager or recruiter can find your work can not only make your life and theirs easier, but also shows your work to more people. Instead of hauling work in for one interview, it’s available for anyone who see your resume. You don’t need more than the one hyperlink, but it can make a world of difference.
Add Keywords From the Job Posting
After you apply for a position online, it then goes to the company’s computer program where it searches for the keywords that were in the job posting. It’s looking for the exact words. Words that are similar won’t matter. Resumes that don’t have the exact words are then discarded – before a person ever sees them. That’s right! You could be applying for job after job without a human being ever seeing your resume. You can stop that from happening by adding those keywords to your resume! If they use the words “customer service”, then so do you! If the job description lists a specific kind of computer program used for a specific industry and you used that program, make sure to put that on your resume! Sure, maybe a human being in your industry would assume that you’ve used it, but you have to get past the computer first!
We go into this in more depth here: How To Get Your Resume Past The ATS
Choose Appropriate Margins
Typically one inch margins on each side is standard. If you have too much white space, you may want to consider expanding your line height instead to 1.15 or 1.5.
Don’t Forget to Proofread
This may sound like an obvious step, but it has to be done. Your reputation is on the line! Yes, people still forget to proofread. When you’ve been working on your resume for a long amount of time, it can be easy to reread something so often that it looks like it’s spelled correctly. This is why we recommend that you take a break before you proofread. Coming back to your resume with a clear head will let you see if anything might be misspelled.
Decide If You Need More Than One Resume
If you’re applying to a companies that have very specific requirements, then you may need more than one. You may need to decide on a case-by-case basis. If you’re qualified for several different industries, then you will need more than one resume. Each resume will need different keywords and show your different skills to the hiring manager. Taking the time to create more than one will save you frustration later on when you aren’t getting interviews.
In conclusion, resumes have come a long way. To sum up, you’ll need to:
- Focus on the top third
- Remove your physical address
- Make sure your email address is professional
- Include numbers or graphs or charts
- Consider adding a link to your portfolio
- Add keywords from the job listing
- Check your margins
- Decide if you need more than one resume
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