Your career is always evolving and as it matures, so should your resume. A resume is a living document, meaning that in its life span it will see lots of information come and go. Things you did right out of high school, lose their relevance as you gain professional experience.
It's easy to become emotionally attached to the work you've done, especially if you've overcome challenges in the workplace to get opportunities or studied long and hard to test and certify yourself as an expert. This is usually what has happened when clients bring a resume that's 6+ pages!
Make it a rule to celebrate your work anniversary each year by updating your resume. Here are a few tips for each tier of your career.
STUDENTS AND ENTRY LEVEL
If you are pre-college or pre-professional here are a few things you can focus on to make sure your resume reflects the best you have to offer!
1. Focus On Extracurricular Activities And Community Involvement
You can showcase unpaid experience and still show your leadership capacity. Any extracurricular activities you've participated in should be expressed with your position or title in specific terms.
If you were Treasurer or Fundraising Chair of your local youth group, sorority or fraternity be sure to mention that.
Don't be afraid to talk about your volunteer experience as though it's a job.
No matter the length of time you volunteer, focus on what skills you've gained and what you've learned overall.
2. Identify Value Added Tasks and Accomplishments
Employers are looking for specific tasks and qualifications when hiring a new employee. You’ll see which tasks are important to them via the job description.
Be sure that you’ve listed all the tasks that coincide with what the employer considers valuable. Put more emphasis on those tasks as they will make more of an impact.
List your accomplishments in a prominent way making it easy for employers to understand what areas you excel in.
3. Keep Content to One Page
If you’ve been working less than 10 years you are most likely able to get all your work experience on one page.
Remember that hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds reviewing your resume.
If your resume is over a page and you aren’t sure how to bring it down, go back and review the job description then highlight anything that matches the job description.
PROFESSIONALS, MANAGERS, AND DIRECTORS
Post-college and rising professionals can look to these tips to maximize the impact of their resumes.
1. Incorporate Any Continued Education to Increase Skill
If you’ve just completed your degree you’ll want to site internships and projects you took on during your college experience.
If you’ve been in your position for some time, keep a running list of the training you’ve completed and include those relevant to the position you are applying for.
On-the-job training is one of the most undersold skill builders.
Don’t forget to list the software your company uses.
2. Provide Quantitative Data to Express Accomplishments
If you update your resume every year, (even if you aren’t looking for a new job) you can keep track of your deliverables and accomplishments.
Identify your numbers, sales made, calls taken, customers assisted, widgets installed, and use that information on your resume.
You should also keep a file where you put every accolade you’ve ever received like Employee of the Month or Sales Leader of the Quarter.
3. Only List 10yrs of Experience
Most applications ask for 10 years of experience but there are reasons to list more.
If you’ve worked more than 10 years at your current job, you’ll want to demonstrate other skills and qualifications you’ve gained from your previous work history.
EXECUTIVE & C-SUITE CANDIDATES
If you are moving into or within Senior Level positions here are 3 tips that will add that competitive edge to your resume.
1. Identify Your Audience and Target Specifically to Their Needs
Generic resumes are the first to get thrown in the trash. To combat that, conduct a needs assessment for each company you intend to apply to.
Identify their pain points and express the skills, experience, and qualifications you possess to help them.
Stay away from templates and consider creating a custom header to be sure your resume stands out and holds the reader's attention.
2. Lead With Organizational Successes Over Daily Tasks
In positions where you are responsible for the success of entire departments, listing your daily tasks can be longwinded and quickly overwhelm the reader.
List your team's accomplishments and add any changes you instituted that led to that success.
Provide data to express team successes such as sales goals, product manufacturers, or facilities managed.
3. No More Than 20 Years Listed
With the exception of federal resumes, there are very few organizations that want to hear about every job you've ever had.
Listing your work experience beyond 20 years can get lengthy, Use that space on your resume to be as strategic as you can.
As you update your resume, be sure to also include the most recent information:
Any recent training you’ve attended
The success rate of initiatives you’ve led
Recent projects you’ve completed
Unofficial leadership roles you’ve taken on
Your resume should showcase your most relevant accomplishments and strengths. Once you've found a length that works for you (1-page or 2), remove information in exchange for new and updated data.
Follow these suggestions to keep your resume updated and relevant no matter what stage in your career.
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