Eight ways to improve your resume over the holidays
December is a pivotal time of year to get your resume and social media profiles updated, in sync and given to the right contacts to land your next job faster for the New Year. Whether you are simply updating your achievements, landing a new job or switching careers, it is key to capitalize on the remaining few weeks of 2013 to position yourself to thrive in 2014. Here are eight tips that you can do right now to get your profile and resume up to speed fast and ready for the New Year.
Ensure your resume summary and social media profiles correlate to strengthen your brand across mediums. To communicate your brand effectively, start with aligning the content of your resume summary with your social media profiles to reinforce what position you are targeting and how you go about doing your job. For example, if you are targeting a Senior Portfolio Analyst position, you will want to make sure this target role is written as a title in your resume summary and incorporated into your social media headlines. Having the title listed prominently not only improves your resume/profile keyword optimization, but reinforces to the reader in a split second what position you want by using the right keywords.
New Year = New Look. Give your resume an updated contemporary look to give your resume a renewed appearance and you a rejuvenated sense of confidence. If your resume has been using the same layout from 3-5 years ago (or <gasp!> longer), it is time to give it an updated makeover. You can still have a conservative format, if that is what you and your industry is calling for, but conservative can still be done in a contemporary manner.
Use keyword position titles in the employment sections of your resume and profile to improve keyword optimization. Do you have a title that seems unique to your company and not a mainstream title for what you do? If so, then consider using the mainstream equivalent in the employment title headings on your resume and social media profiles to improve searchability of your documents. For example, if your title is Business Unit Manager, but you really are performing what would be called Finance Manager to the rest of the world, then consider listing your position on your resume/profile in this manner: “Business Unit Manager (Finance Manager)” to help with the keyword optimization of your target role and the clarity of what you are pursuing in the mind of the hiring manager.
List your most notable achievements for the year. Review the year and note your specific challenges, actions taken to overcome those challenges and proudest successes stemming from those experiences. Aim to have 6-8 accomplishments so you can have solid ammunition to write your resume and profile with possibilities to spare. You want to make sure you have a solid foundation of accomplishment to format your achievement-based document to help land that coveted interview.
Update your resume and profile with new training you have finished, accolades you have been awarded, and any new professional membership you now have. Demonstrate your commitment to your career and lifelong learning by updating the professional development initiatives in which you have participated. Smart employers want to hire motivated, high-caliber professionals who are serious and proactive about their own personal achievement and self-improvement.
Always be looking ahead. Write your resume and social media profiles to be forward looking document that catalogues how your accomplishments are in alignment with results desired by the prospective employer. Do not write backward-looking documents that simply state your employment history. It is important that your resume and profile show where you are going and how you will add value to the next organization you will join.
Ensure your resume and social media profile can stand alone in the event your resume is separated from your cover letter. The purpose of your cover letter is to complement your resume and to entice the reader to want to read your resume and call you for an interview. However, your resume and profile need to be strong enough to stand on their own to convey your value, and your resume should not be dependent on a hiring manager having to read your cover letter for your resume or profile to make sense.
Be relevant. Cull your experience to focus on the last 15 years of your employment and remove or downplay any work experience prior to the 15-year mark. Ensure you list relevant achievements for the applied role, and not everything you did just because you are proud of it. It is crucial that your resume list what is recent and relevant or you can lose the interest of employers who may see your laundry list of achievements as overwhelming and irrelevant. Getting rid of the achievements that are not pertinent to the pursued role can give new life and renewed focus to the ones you leave on your resume and profile.
About the Author:
Lisa Rangel, the Managing Director of Chameleon Resumes, is,a former search firm recruiter, certified professional resume writer and holder of six additional job search certifications. She has been featured on eFinancialCareers.com, Investors Business Daily, About.com, BBC, Forbes.com, LinkedIn, Monster, US News & World Report, Fox Business News and Good Morning America. She has authored six niche resume and job search ebooks, including 99 Free Job Search Tips from An Executive Recruiter.