Spring is a time of fresh starts. I know. Now that spring is here, my husband is applying for jobs. He’s a great university instructor, and he has helped numerous students over the years, but it’s time to move on. So he’s updating his CV and getting ready to see what’s out there.
Even if you aren’t planning to apply for a job anytime soon, it does make sense to dust off your resume and update it. Updating your resume regularly can be beneficial during the job hunt later. It saves time, and it allows you a fast turnaround if you suddenly lose your job.
“Your resume is a living document that will be edited and updated through the course of your job search and your entire career,” says Ford Myers, a career coach and author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. He offers five helpful tips for improving your resume:
1. Be Honest
First of all, you need to be honest with your resume. When we first start out, it’s tempting to pad your resume your exaggerate a bit. Look back through your resume and identify these types of situations. Now that you have more experience, you can re-do your resume to be more honest. “If you lie, you will always lose in the long run,” says Myers.
2. Be Selective
As your career progresses, you don’t need to keep using the same information from the past — especially if it’s irrelevant. “There is no need to focus on your after-school job or high school achievements if they are not relevant to the career you are looking for,” Myers points out.
You can also add information about your volunteer activities if they are relevant and if they have provided you with translatable skills. Think about what items will show you in the best light and get rid of everything else.
3. Be Brief
This accompanies being selective. There is no reason to go into detail in some areas. You need to grab a potential employer’s attention quickly, and offer information that is relevant to the posting. Look through the descriptions you have on your resume, and make sure that they are brief and applicable. Choose keywords that tell your career story as quickly and as powerfully as possible.
4. Be Active
Myers suggests that you use active, strong words to introduce yourself. He points out that “responsible for” is kind of weak. Instead, action verbs like “create” and “conduct” are stronger, and convey a sense that you are doing things. Action words also encourage brevity in your descriptions.
Another way you can increase the strength of your resume’s language is to go through the document and identify forms of the verb “to be.” See if you can replace phrases like “I was” and “I am” with stronger expressions and verbs that show more action. This type of editing can reduce the space you take up, and present you as a dynamic individual.
5. Be Specific
If you want to show that you have contributed meaningfully in your past jobs, you need to be specific. Be results-oriented with your resume.
“Although individuals should be as specific as possible throughout the entire resume, this quantification tips should be exercised most in the Professional Experience section,” says Myers. “Here is where your past jobs, roles, responsibilities, and accomplishments are listed. It’s also where most employers and recruiters focus 90 percent of their attention.”
This means that you need to explain, briefly, the results you achieved in your past positions. Use keywords and active language, and you will come across as more impressive and helpful.
With a little tweaking to your resume each spring, you can get it ready for the next job.