Archive for November, 2008

Resume Tips: 7 Ways to Update your Resume

November 27, 2008

There used to be a “job for life” but now it is more common to change jobs and companies every 2-3 years, and to change careers several times in a working life. In a fast paced job market it is important to keep your resume up to date and ready to send out if opportunity arises. Here are 7 ways you can keep your resume up to date and stay on top of new technologies being used for recruitment.

1.    Keep a Master resume but make each application specific. Use your Master as a template each time but ruthlessly cut out irrelevant content for each application. Create a copy of the master and then cut out the sections that don’t apply or summarise large blocks into sections with relevant information. Highlight the skills and experience most applicable to the job near the beginning of the document. List any specific projects, skills, awards or experience you have gained that are relevant for the role.


2.    Use active language to describe your role e.g. Developed, Managed, Gained, Sold. These words force you to assess exactly what you did and make your achievement stand out. Make your experience positive even if you had a difficult time. You will find that you have learnt something useful from every job. Don’t avoid long absences if you had time off for having children, or to travel or study. Include this time with the benefits and skills it has given you that can help in this job.

3.    Use a professional layout as first impressions count.  Most applications are now done on email with an attachment or through online forms. Make sure your fonts and page layout are easy to read with enough white space to read easily on a computer. Don’t shrink your font size if you want to cram more information in. Either cut down on your content, or add extra pages. Save the final version into PDF format for online resumes so that formatting doesn’t change on download. There are plenty of freelancers online who can do this if you can’t. Check out and get it professionally done.


4.    Create an online professional resume at This is fast becoming the website to post your resume, get referred and find jobs at the group pages. You can load a full resume or attach a document, presentation or link to where you have posted your full page. Make sure you include a recent professional photo as this gives a good impression. As many employers search online now, Google yourself and make sure that all your online hits are professional ones. If you have a personal website, make sure it is also professional.


5.    Make the details count. Make sure your contact details are up to date and include an email address and mobile phone number. Check page numbers, margins and headings to ensure consistency. When emailing your resume, make sure you include your name in the filename e.g. JohnSmith_Resume.pdf so it doesn’t get lost on download.


6.    Update your references. In a technological world, it is easy to fake qualifications, so recommendations are still important. Take off old referees and include your most recent ones with updated contact information. You can also collect references in writing or by email, or ask people to post a recommendation on your LinkedIn page or website.

7. Get someone else to read your resume. It is a sales document and needs to get attention. Therefore you need to say what is special about you and ensure you are highlighting your most important skills and qualifications. Many people do not “blow their own trumpet” well, so have someone else tell you what to change and improve. 


“How to Enjoy Your Job” Book Trailer

November 21, 2008

This book trailer gives you a brief taste of what the book is all about. Change your job – change your life! 

Studs Terkel “Working”

November 2, 2008

Studs Terkel has just died. You may not know him, but his brilliant book “Working” (first published 1972) influenced me in the writing of “How to Enjoy Your Job” (published 2008). “Working” has the sub-title of “People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do”. 

It is striking that people’s jobs may change but the feelings we have about work are the same across generations. People want to work and make a difference in their community, they want to look after their family and earn a good income. They want to do something worthwhile with their time. They want to be valued and respected, even if the job they do is menial. 

Looking through his book, there are no IT consultants, no knowledge workers. Gen Y is not born yet and Gen X is still toddling. People do not work on computers. But the language is similar, and the problems are the same. I have just reread the chapter that is most like office work. The closest I could find to that is the “Project Manager” under Bureaucracy section. There is this telling sentence.

“The most frustrating thing for me is to know that what I’m doing does not have a positive impact on others. I don’t see this work as meaning anything. I now treat my job disdainfully.”

How many office workers identify with this in 2008? 

It is a great book as it tells the stories of people’s working lives in their own voices, much as Po Bronson is also doing now. I still believe you can find happiness in your work, and if not in your daily grind, then you must find it outside of your job. But don’t underestimate the effect of your job on your life, your health and your happiness. 

“…work, is, by it’s very nature, about violence – to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is, above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations.

To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us.”

From “Working” Studs Terkel’ Introduction.