Your resume may include your current position and responsibilities. But is it ready to be shared with recruiters and would-be employers?
If you have not changed positions in over a decade, it has probably been a while since you’ve done a resume refresh. But if you are interested in finding a new full-time opportunity or side gig, it is time to trot it out for a contemporary makeover. The following tips can help to ensure your job applications land in the winner’s circle instead of the circular bin.
1. Update your contact information.
Over the years, due to the Internet and smartphones, the contact details job seekers provide on their resumes have evolved. In addition to your name, list your cell phone number (or landline, if you don’t have a smartphone), email address, and city and state—but not your street address. Consider including your LinkedIn URL, too. (If you do not already have one, TopResume offers excellent step-by-step instructions on creating an effective LinkedIn profile.)
The email address you provide should convey that you are a professional, so avoid using one that could be construed as funny, generic, or in any way inappropriate. Steer clear of an email address that includes numbers and/or underscores, too. Keep it simple, easy to remember, and apropos by selecting/creating one that includes your first and last name or a variation thereof.
2. Take it from the top (literally).
Is an objective the first item someone who reads your resume encounters (after your name and contact information, that is)? Omit it. Space on your curriculum vitae is at a premium and when you apply for a job, your objective is clear: you are interested in it.
Instead, fill that prime resume real estate with a professional profile that gives a sophisticated snapshot of your career to date. In a concise paragraph, tell prospective employers about your qualifications and how they set you apart from other job seekers. Also, include keywords from job postings that reflect your skill set, knowledge, credentials, and overall experience. Use this professional summary to sell yourself and demonstrate why you are a perfect candidate for the job.
3. Understand the importance of keywords.
As mentioned above, when conducting a resume refresh, using keywords from a job listing is crucial. In fact, you should review (and update as needed) your professional profile with this information every time you apply for a new job.
Your resume will be viewed by human resources (HR) professionals, hiring managers, and other company decision makers. But today, many firms first make use of applicant tracking software systems, which have filters to weed out documents that do not contain words pertinent to the desired expertise and skills required to successfully do the available job. Without relevant keywords, even a good, well-written resume is unlikely to move forward in the application process.
4. Realize size matters …
And in more ways than one. When it comes to resume length, for instance, shorter is viewed as better. Therefore, if possible, limit your resume to no more than two pages. By and large, talent acquisition professionals prefer a detailed yet succinct outline of a candidate’s work and educational experience (i.e., you don’t have to include every job you have ever held).
Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to pare down your resume:
- Use bullet points instead of paragraphs for summarizing responsibilities and accomplishments.
- Include only the past 10 years or so of your work history. (Exception: When experience prior to that time is a perfect match for a job you want.)
- Cut with abandon. Remove extraneous words, particulars that are no longer relevant, and personal information, such as marital status and hobbies.
Also, when you are formatting your resume, choose a font size between 10 and 12 to make your resume easier to read. And make the most of the size by using a font that complements it. Arial, Calibri, and Helvetica are popular options.
By giving your resume a proper refresh, you can better ensure it provides the details headhunters, HR pros, and others who are hiring want to see. What’s the next step? Preparing for interview requests and job offers!