Whether you want to put out some new-job feelers in the new year or you’re happy with your current job, you should take this fresh-start opportunity to overhaul your resume. But why, you ask? It’s a good resume. It got you this far. And you could always update it if there’s a specific need, right?
All valid points. But let’s look at this as an improvement opportunity for yourself. It’s like an annual eye exam. You might not think your vision has changed much, but your insurance requires an annual exam anyway to make sure your vision needs haven’t changed. There’s always room to make your life better and present yourself in a way that shows who you are at a given moment. Your work self is no different.
1. Look at resume trends, especially in your industry.
This can be just a basic search online. Is everyone including social media links on their resume these days? Are infographics to show revenue and statistics the way to go? It may be as basic as checking to see whether particular sections or formatting are current.
For example, conventional wisdom used to say that an “objective” statement was a part of a well-balanced resume. Now, that has fallen out of favor as employers look for more straightforward, cut-to-the-chase bullet points about results. Don’t let your resume look like the professional equivalent of the Ford Edsel when everyone else is sending in a sleek hybrid.
2. Include more iOS, less Apple II.
If you have skills listed for software programs and applications that don’t exist anymore or are no longer widely used, ditch ‘em. Make sure your listed tech skills match the current crop of tools for your field.
3. Do a self-audit of the past year.
Does your resume offer your most recent skills and accomplishments? This is a chance to review your year in general and have a list of your successes ready to go for annual review time. Even if you have no plans to leave your current job, having an updated list of this information can give you a leg up when it comes to negotiating for a bonus or a raise.
4. Decide what doesn’t need to be there anymore.
If your resume still includes your job responsibilities from four jobs ago, it’s time to consign some of your old information to history. If those old jobs are super-relevant to a particular job you’re seeking, keep some of the information; but your resume’s focus should definitely be your most recent job(s). In other words, it’s probably fine to let go of that student office job you had back in college. Hiring managers want to see the professional you are now, not necessarily the one you were 10 years ago.
5. Make sure everything is accurate.
Every time you open your resume, be nitpicky. Is everything in it exactly as it’s supposed to be? Dates, numbers, skills? This goes hand-in-hand with proofreading to make sure your resume is also typo-free. To err is human, but to hand in a resume containing easily preventable mistakes is embarrassing.
6. Find a resume buddy.
A second pair of eyes never, ever hurts. Have a friend or family member review your resume as neutrally as possible. They may see information that is incomplete or doesn’t make sense, or notice typos your own eyes might have missed.
Your resume is a snapshot of where you are in your career, so here’s your chance to make sure it’s a great selfie as you gear up for the new year.
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