5 Tips to "Spring Clean" Your Resume
Small things make a big difference
If you find that your resumé isn't getting the results you want, Spring is the perfect time to clean it up. My experience as a career coach and author of a book on finding a job in a tough economy has given me a few insights. Here are five simple ideas to develop an attention-getting resumé.
1. Be Brief
Of the five main sections of a resumé, the Career Summary is where brevity counts most. The Summary is a brief statement of who you are, where you're coming from, and what skills and expertise you have to contribute to an organization. All you'll need to grab the reader's attention are five or six lines of text highlighting the benefits and contributions you offer as a professional.
2. Be Specific
Resumés that get noticed focus on specific, tangible results. Quantify everything you can, including retention rates, sales numbers, profit margins, numbers of projects, numbers of people, performance quotas, and so on. Whenever possible, use percentages, dollars and hard numbers. Quantification should be used most in the Professional Experience section. This is where your past jobs, roles, responsibilities and accomplishments are listed. This is also the section where most employers and recruiters focus 90 percent of their attention. The information you present here, and how you present it, can decide the fate of your candidacy within about 10 seconds of resumé scanning time.
3. Be Active
I urge resumé writers to use strong action verbs at the beginning of every sentence. Words such as "lead," "launch," "direct," "build," "manage" and "conduct" have a lot more impact than a passive phrase such as "responsible for."
4. Be Selective
Focus on information that is truly relevant to your career goal and edit out the rest. There is no need to mention your high school achievements or volunteer work if they are not relevant to the career you are looking for or if they are in your distant past.
5. Be Honest
This is a strong warning to job seekers to never lie on a resumé. If you lie or 'stretch the truth, you will always lose in the long run.
Your resumé is a living document that will be edited and updated through the course of your job search and your entire career. Taking a good look at it this Spring, and at the start of every season, will help you put your best foot forward.
Five Sections of a Resumé
1. Header/Contact Information
2. Career Summary
3. Professional Experience
5. Affiliations or Professional Development
Ford R. Myers is a career coach, speaker and author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring (John Wiley & Sons, www.getthejobbook.com).