Past Issues

December 26, 2011

Refresh Your Resume For Your 2012 Job Search

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Refresh Your Resume...

Kim, Isaacs, Resume Power

A resume refresher doesn't need to be painful. And your efforts could pay off with big dividends in the new year. Arm yourself with a freshly updated, high-octane resume and this could be the year that you land a more fulfilling job.

Now is a great time to reflect on your recent accomplishments and add them to your resume. Here are some ideas to help guide you.

Find Your Passion

Make sure your resume instantly communicates your career target with a descriptive headline (e.g., "CPA Backed by Corporate Audit Experience") and adequately reflects your depth and breadth of experience with a brief, hard-hitting opening summary highlighting your top selling points.

If you're thinking about changing careers or industries, be sure you've clearly defined your goal. Your job search will be more successful if your resume targets a specific field instead of being a one-size-fits-all document.

Research positions to gain a solid understanding of what you want to do as well as the qualifications employers are seeking. Once you identify your career target, assess your background and identify transferable skills and experience that will enable success.

Add a resume objective that spells out your goals and shows the relevance of past experience. For example: "Award-winning educator seeking to leverage five years of teaching experience to transition into corporate training."

Add New Employment, Skills and Accomplishments

Refreshing your resume also means keeping it current. If you've changed jobs during the past year, earned a promotion or expanded responsibilities, your resume should reflect this. Even if you've remained in the same position, you've probably achieved noteworthy accomplishments in the last year.

Don't forget about your new skills, including technical and computer ones. Add your new skills to the skills section of your resume and ensure your proficiency level and years of experience are current.

Keep Keywords Up-to-Date

Study job postings on job boards that match your career target, and note which "keywords" appear repeatedly. Incorporate the keywords that match your background into your resume.

Include New Professional Activities

Add professional-development activities you completed last year, including certificates, degrees, courses and in-service training. Also include professional organizations you've joined and industry conferences you've attended. List training programs you've begun, even if you haven't completed them. This shows your commitment to ongoing professional development.

Edit Ruthlessly

As you add new information to your resume, also consider the usefulness of older or less relevant experience. This will ensure your resume doesn't become unwieldy. Decrease the amount of detail you provide for older experience.

Proofread your resume carefully to ensure it's error-free. Watch for information that needs to be updated from previous versions. For example, if your old resume included a summary that stated your years of experience, increase this number if necessary.

Start a Kudos File

Resolve in the new year to start a file for projects and successes you achieve during the year. Copy performance reviews and keep them in this file. Print out complimentary or congratulatory emails and file these away. List new committees you join. Jot down assignments you complete during the year. Include details of quantifiable results (e.g., percentages, dollar amounts, before/after comparisons) of your efforts while still fresh in your mind. Your kudos file will remind you where you excelled so you'll be ready to punch up your resume.

Update Regularly

Whether your are unemployed, underemployed or passively looking to leave your current job for greener pastures, you should refresh your resume throughout the year and keep it up to date. You never know when opportunity may come knocking.

Kim Isaacs is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and a Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) and served on the advisory committee for the NCRW credential. She coauthored The Career Change Resume: How to Reinvent Your Resume and Land Your Dream Job (McGraw-Hill). To learn more about Kim, visit her website ResumePower by following this link.

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