My friend, Brandy, called me in a panic last week about her résumé. She wanted to apply to a job opening that closed the next day. Brandy asked me to help write her résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. She was completely stressed out because her résumé wasn’t ready—and it would be significant raise in pay and better benefits.
Her résumé and cover letter had not been updated in more than 10 years. The formats and strategies were outdated. Her LinkedIn profile didn’t have a professional photograph or summary and it only listed her job from 10 years ago. Furthermore, there wasn’t any cohesive alignment between the cover letter, résumé, and LinkedIn bio. And, they weren’t written to address the needs of the employer to make it EASY for them to select her to interview, not to mention, position her to be hired.
This is what I call a REACTIVE approach, rather than a PROACTIVE strategy. I convinced my friend that it would be a better strategy to take the time to do it right than to throw something together and end up with a low-quality product that wouldn’t even be optimized to make it past the first of the Six Audiences™—USAJOBS.
This situation can easily be avoided when you make it a habit to keep your résumé updated. The beginning of the New Year is the perfect time! Here are some tips to make this an easy, efficient process.
Updating your résumé doesn’t just mean adding your latest job. In today’s highly competitive job market, your résumé needs to communicate your value and clearly show how you can solve the employer’s problems and fill a need. And, it should include all the details that make it EASY to select you to interview…and quickly!
3 Steps to Update Your Résumé:
- Pre-qualify yourself to ensure it’s worth your time to apply to the position.
- Most résumés only need to include the past 10 years of work experience.
- Delete outdated and irrelevant information.
You may find it difficult to delete information.
Sometimes, there is an emotional attachment to the information. You could have noteworthy accomplishments from 15-20 years ago that you believe will help tell your story. However, if the accomplishments are not relevant to a particular job posting, it can take away from your overall presentation.
I suggest that you keep a master résumé to ‘store’ all the details then create subsequent résumés from it. There are other places where older information might be a good fit in your overall strategy, such as a website or LinkedIn, depending on the circumstances.
Put yourself in the place of the hiring manager whose responsibility it is to select the BEST candidate that has experience, can perform the duties of the job, and is a good fit for the organization. Would you interview (or hire) a candidate whose accomplishments were a decade or two old?
Make it easy for them to hire you!
Hiring managers want to know what you can do for them, what you have done recently, and how that transfers to their requirements to fill the position.
You can improve your résumé with current accomplishments and avoid the very old ones.
Keep a master file of your accomplishments.
Hopefully, you are doing this already and you will be able to easily update your résumé with accomplishments from your file. If not, now is a great time to start these accomplishments within your master résumé!
Get in the habit of recording special projects, important accomplishments, new responsibilities, new certifications, and enhanced skills while they are fresh in your mind. If you don’t record your accomplishments, when it comes time to showcase them, you may end up with a terrible case of writer’s block. And if that happens, you might not be able to remember all of your successes and contributions.
Write as many qualitative facts as possible. This includes before and after figures, dollar amounts you have saved the organization, processes you have improved, the number of people you trained, increased revenues, and so forth.
Keep a folder for ‘attaboys’, reference letters, quotes of praise, paper certificates (in your file cabinet), emails, and even a Word document with the information to easily recall when you need it. Memories fade over time. If you try and recall information from the past year, you will likely forget important details.
Describe accomplishments more than duties.
Does your résumé discuss job duties more than accomplishments? If so, plan on an editing session with a focus on your contributions and achievements. It is important to summarize your job duties and responsibilities. However…it is far more important to describe your accomplishments.
MAGNETIC TIP: Every résumé you submit should target and align with the job announcement so it speaks to each of the Six Audiences™ for maximum effectiveness.
Give the Six Audiences™ examples of what you have done, such as contributions to improve organizational performance, improve morale, or save money. The summary of your duties and responsibilities provides context for your accomplishments.
It’s a new year. Make it amazing!
Create a new résumé. Create new hope. By doing so, you’ll start your path to a new job and more success!
If you need help writing your summary or accomplishments, reach out to us. We have many options from 1-on-1 personal service to an online course. Contact us for a free consultation!
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