Posts Tagged ‘resume’

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 Elance.com and get it professionally done.

 

4.    Create an online professional resume at LinkedIn.com. 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. 

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Resume Tips 2: Content

May 26, 2008

Maintaining great content in your resume is critical to making a good impression.

·         Create a Master resume that contains everything you have done that may be relevant for future work. Update your Master resume after every significant piece of work you do. It is often hard to remember the details of what you have done in the previous year, so update it every few months, even if it is just one line with what you have done in that time.

 

·         When applying for a specific job, study the requirements and competencies they require. Then create a copy of the Master resume and tailor it to the actual job, cutting out unrelated activities. Think carefully about what you want to include, as it is important to make your resume succinct and as relevant as possible to the job.

 

·         Include a short cover letter with a summary of your skills as they relate to this specific job, responding to any requirements from the job advert. Even if there is an application form, you can always attach a letter. Online applications generally have an upload option, or a text box for extra information. Have your cover letter on a file and paste it into the online form, rather than making something up on the spot. Work on this letter as you only have one chance to make a good impression.

 

·         Include a website address if you have one, but only if it directly relates to the job and is of a professional nature. Be careful with your online presence as this will be increasingly used in recruitment. Google yourself and make sure anything is complimentary and appropriate. Update your Facebook, mySpace or LinkedIn profiles as appropriate.  

 

 

·         Consider whether you want to use a photo on your resume. This is a personal choice and it is not necessary.

 

 

·         Be careful about listing referees. I use “Referees available on request” on my resume as I do not want too many phone calls to the same people. I provide references if I am sure I want the job. In terms of getting references, always remember that you may need someone’s word in the future. When you are leaving a job, try to stay on good terms with people as you may need them later.

  • Another way to use references is to attach written references or positive feedback to your resume. This can be an effective way of standing out in the pile of applications. These references provide testimonials as to your character and skills. But be aware that the company will most likely call those people to verify they are true.

 

Resume Tips 1: Structure

May 24, 2008

This is the first in a series on creating a great resume.

You need an outstanding resume to get a job, but even if you want to work for yourself, it is good to look at what you have done in order to be confident of what you can achieve. Reflecting on what you have achieved, and phrasing it positively builds your self confidence and helps you with honest self appraisal so you know what to focus on next. So even if you don’t need a resume for your next job, consider how you could use the tips here to create a positive description of your achievements.

The aim of a resume is to sell yourself as someone who will add value to an employer. It is about highlighting your most important positive attributes and aligning them with the requirements of a particular position.

 

There are some accepted business formulas but no totally correct way to create a resume. Use the following tips to help you create or improve your resume for the specific job you are focussing on.

·         Have clear sections within your resume. Use headings and bullet points with clear and concise phrases stating your skills and experience.

 

·         Include your contact details on the header of the resume and make sure you have an appropriate email address. Use your name or a variation on your name, not a nickname or something unrecognisable as this looks unprofessional.

 

·         Take time over the content and the formatting of your resume. It should be easy to read and look professional. Remember to spell check the final result. Read it several times to check it is coherent.

 

·         A popular resume format is reverse chronology where you start with your most recent experience and work backwards. An alternative is to highlight your most relevant experience first and then list your other jobs behind in another section. Remember that there is no need to list every job you have had, particularly if it has no relevance or would detract from the image you are trying to portray.

 

·         Gaps in job history will be spotted, so be honest about it. When I took a year off for study and travel, I explained to a potential employer the benefits of having someone who was rested and ready to get back to work. This made the career gap look positive. 

·         The length of the resume seems to vary by country and by job type. Two pages may be enough for some, but others prefer a longer resume. It is more important that what you say is succinct and relevant, than long-winded and unnecessary.

 The next post will focus on Resume Content.