When was the last time you updated your resume? How about your LinkedIn profile? If you can’t remember, it might be time to revisit it. Nearly five years ago, I hired a career coach to help me figure out my next move. He helped me with my resume, cover letter, interview skills and networking strategy. I learned so much from him that I constantly call the experience life-changing. And while I am no expert in resume writing, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Step 1: Update the basics
Did your phone number change? Is the email address you have listed the one that you check on a regular basis? Do you list your current address? Some experts say you only need to list your city and state but not your address. If you have any security concerns or wish to keep some information private, it’s perfectly okay to leave out your street.
Step 2: Revise your job description
If you only list your job duties and not your accomplishments, you are selling yourself short. Resumes in 2020 need to include not just what you are responsible for but what have you done to make a difference. Your accomplishments tell your story and the more metrics you add to your resume, the better it looks. For instance, my job description says I coordinate major fundraising initiatives, but my accomplishment is that I raised nearly $225K in the last end-of-year campaign making it the most successful in the history of the organization. Your accomplishments are what will get you noticed.
Step 3: Take out certain age-defining items
This is an easy thing to do, but not everyone does it. Get rid of your graduation dates. Future employers only need to know where you graduated from, what type of degree and course of study, and any awards you want to highlight. Another thing to consider is to only list your last three jobs on a resume because they are probably the most relevant to the type of position you want. This is something I haven’t done yet, but I’m seriously thinking about it.
Step 4: Make sure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume
I was recently promoted and added it to my LinkedIn profile, but not to my resume. What happened? The hiring manager wondered why it was online but not in print. It can be a red flag when job searching materials are inconsistent. You want to present yourself in the best way on paper and online. And if you don’t think they are checking out your LinkedIn profile, you would be mistaken.
Step 5: Proofread everything
Typos have no place on your resume. If human resources managers find a misspelled word, a missing word or the wrong punctuation, your resume will wind up in the circular file. You could be the perfect candidate for the position, but you won’t get far in the process if mistakes are found. Have someone with a good eye for spelling and grammar to review your resume. Read your resume (and cover letter) out loud to yourself. Run a spell check, but don’t depend on it completely because it always misses words that are spelled correctly but not necessarily the word you meant to use. Here’s a perfect example of this, I read the resume of a qualified young man for a public relations job, except he spelled it as pubic relations. 😉
Whether you are looking for a new job or have some free time on your hands, updating your resume to present your best self to employers will pay off in the long run.