Why you need to refresh your resume – right now!
Whether you are an experienced professional with many years in the workforce or just out of college, a resume is your passport to new and exciting fields of endeavor and should be regarded for the power it possesses.
While it’s easy to favor complacency and believe that once you have your resume right once, it’s done forever; the best advice I can give you is to prioritize refreshing it from time to time.
DO keep your resume updated.
Regardless of how much or how little time you may have in your current position, you constantly are gaining new experience. Waiting too long between updates could mean forgetting to add that experience to your next renewal. Also, with the volatility of the job market, you never know when you may need your resume, so instead of rushing after unexpected unemployment, take initiative and add in important experience as it happens.
DO make sure your resume speaks to the intended audience.
Avoid using a ‘one size fits all’ resume during your job search process. The truth is that, even after you’ve amassed work experience, not all work will be relevant for every position that interests you. Take time to identify and target best-fit story points that speak to your audience’s needs — because ultimately, the resume is more for the hiring decision maker than it is for you. So don’t just refresh your resume, tailor it.
DO seek professional advice.
This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but believe it or not, there are still those who insist on going it alone when it comes to this vital piece of career strategy. While it is true that no one knows your career better than you do, a fresh set of eyes and expert opinion can go a long way in making sure that you’re not bogged down by how you’ve historically branded yourself. At the very least, if you are committed to writing your own resume, you may want to research professional resume writing books to guide you in current resume development methods.
DO NOT add on to the bottom of an existing document.
Have you ever seen an old beat-up car with a brand new fender? The new part typically only makes the rest of the car look even worse. The same is true of a resume that simply has new content added on. Take the time to rebuild your resume completely when you feel the need to add in new experience. The new information should be integrated and become a part of the bigger and better picture – not an afterthought.
DO NOT embellish your expertise.
Trying to overcome certain shortcomings in your career by overstating your abilities will only lead to disappointment for all involved. Be honest with yourself and your potential employer. Remember, no matter what they may have advertised as a requirement for the position, these requirements are a wish list. Your skill level may not line up perfectly, but it may very well be closer than anyone else who has applied. Be brave and take a chance.
DO NOT worry about the length.
Too often professionals shortchange themselves by being overly sensitive about the length of their resume. The number of pages has no impact on employers looking to fill a position. The key is in making certain the information is clear, concise and lines up with needs of the employer. Think about the last book you read. If the story was interesting from start to finish, did you concern yourself with how many pages it took to tell the story? Of course not. Your resume is no different. No HR professional has ever turned away a job seeker because the resume was too long, especially if it proves them out to be the best qualified candidate for the job.
While this list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes time to refresh your resume, adhering to it will have a lasting and positive effect on what is arguably the most important part of your personal career portfolio.
This article was originally published on Glassdoor. Read the full version here.