You’ve cleaned out your closet, donated your old clothes and re-arranged your furniture. But spring cleaning doesn’t have to stop there. There’s still time to dust off your resume and polish up the edges.
If you’ve been applying to jobs and not getting much response, your resume might be to blame. The failure to get rid of previous years’ junk might be obscuring some of your most valuable skills and achievements. Even if you’re not planning on applying for a new job in the immediate future, it doesn’t hurt to dust off your resume and fine tune it. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Step #1: Remove anything dated and get rid of last year’s junk
This includes everything from an old-fashioned objective statement-a personalized tagline is more effective- to old job titles. You can also get rid of old jobs that are no longer relevant to your desired role. Remember, your resume is not a biography, it’s more like a sales pitch.
Start at the bottom of your experience list, assuming it’s in chronological order from most recent to least recent, and cross out all jobs and experiences more than 15 years old. Next, look over your certifications, professional development and technical skills. Delete all software, training and development that’s no longer in use.
In other words, examine all of the content on your resume and make sure that every piece of information you’ve chosen to include demonstrates your current and most relevant values.
Step #2: Look at your job descriptions
We can list these as either notable contributions or key skills assessment. Choose ten of your descriptions that had direct, quantifiable results on the business’s key areas (i.e. client retention, marketing initiatives, revenue, workforce reduction, etc.). Pull up the numbers for these results and rewrite them into achieving statements.
Step #3: Fill in the blanks
Look at your current job or last position and see what skills, job description and professional development you’ve added to your portfolio. Did you include it in your resume? Are your most important skills and areas of expertise up to date with current keywords? These are items hiring managers look for in new applicants.
Next think about the job you want. What are the requirements? Research keywords and skills. Look for training and development matching your own. Does your old experience match these conditions? You may be surprised to find you have the skills necessary for that promotion or new job.
Spring cleaning is easier when you do monthly maintenance work around the house. The same holds true with resumes. Don’t wait until you start looking for a job. Sometimes you may not have time to freshen up the resume before a job opportunity comes knocking.