We all have to have them and we all have to tend to them at one point or another… As pesky and cumbersome as it may be; it’s a job that must be done. Updating your resume… whether things are going right or wrong in your career; its something you will have to do at some point. If it’s got to be done, might as well have it done right. Here are a few tips to help out with that 🙂
1. Understand your skill set – You must understand your skill set. As common sense as this may sound, its definitely worth mentioning. Your skill set is what makes you qualified for a certain position or job. The better you can articulate your capabilities, the better your chances of convincing potential employers that you are the right person for the job. Far too often people leave off valuable skills from a resume, because they either don’t know how to articulate that it’s a skill they possess or they simply are not aware that its a viable skill. Before attempting to update or create a new resume you should jot down what your skills are. After writing the list, consider whether you feel the list accurately reflects all you are capable of or have done in your work history. Typically people have a set of hard skills and soft skills. You’d want to be sure to include both in your resume. Usually related hard skills can translate into soft skills when grouped together, so start with the hard skills first then tackle the soft skills next.
2. Show use of skill set in job history – As important as tip 1 is, this tip is just as if not even more important. Being able to articulate everything you are capable of means nothing if you can’t provide solid examples of when and where you have used those skills. When listing each company you’ve worked for you want to make sure you include the skills you have listed when describing what you actually did. This really connects the dots for those who are reading your resume and removes any doubt or confusion as to whether or not you actually possess said skills. You’d especially want to be mindful of this when using popular buzzwords that are common in the industry for which you are seeking employment.
3. Don’t be too wordy – Don’t be too wordy in any section of your resume. Typically, people can go overboard with the amount of verbiage they use when listing previous jobs and what they actually did at these jobs. When listing employment I like to list the name of the company, dates I worked there, position held, a brief description of what my role was and then 4 to 5 bullets which illustrate EXACTLY how I used my skills to to do my job. In the name of writing sentences that are to the point; each bullet does not have to be a complete sentence. However, each bullet point should be written in a way that suggests you have a command of the English language and that you are an effective communicator. 🙂
4. Tailor your resume to the potential job – It’s good practice to tailor your resume to the job you want. When submitting a resume for a particular job you want the resume to paint the picture for the person reading it. If you have access to a job description or have a good idea of what the potential job entails, its good to keep that in mind when tweaking your resume. Your previous experience should spell out what makes you capable of doing the job in which you are seeking. This is even possible when seeking a job in a different industry.
You may not have targeted a particular job but maybe you have targeted a specific industry. It really helps understand the industry you and have a really good idea of what potential recruiters are looking for. Keeping that in mind, you’d use vocabulary and phrases that speak to what they are looking for.
5. There should be no grammar and/or spelling mistakes – This particular tip is self explanatory. There should be no spelling and/or grammatical errors in your resume whatsoever. Poor grammar and misspellings suggest lack of attention to detail and carelessness in general. ALWAYS have your resume proofread before sending out. Because you wrote the resume, your eyes may miss errors. Therefore, its best to get someone else you trust to read it over as well. Also, if you are not sure of how to spell or use a word correctly please avoid it. These kinds of errors stick out like a sore thumb and serve as unnecessary detractors. There is never any excuse to have spelling errors or grammatical errors.
Hopefully these tips were helpful… this is part 1 of a two part series. Part 2 will contain writing samples and before and after samples. Stay tuned… Happy resume writing 🙂