If the economy watchers are correct, finding a job will be easier—if just a little—in 2010. And that makes this holiday season a great time to fine-tune your resume so you're ready to jump when the next job opportunity knocks. So, carve out a little time to examine what you're doing in your job search, and especially look at these four areas of your resume:
1) Professional Summary. Do you have one? Does it convey—accurately and without exaggeration—what you can do for the company? Is it aimed at the kind of work you want to do?
To be sure, review a few job postings that sound like the opportunities you're targeting. Take note of the skills and qualifications the employers require and highlight those that are common to many of the postings. Which ones do you meet? More importantly, which ones do you exceed? For example, if they're looking for someone who is proficient with a particular software application, are you beyond proficient, or an "expert" user?
2) Experience. Be sure you're emphasizing accomplishments, not just listing your past duties. Showing how you helped an employer make money, save money, or make a process more efficient can help you stand out over other candidates.
What are the extraordinary things you did that made a difference in how your company, division, or department performed? In today's tough job market, it's important to emphasize those achievements to gain an edge. You just might need several edges to get an interview.
3) Social Media Tie-In. Do you have a profile on LinkedIn or some other social networking site for professionals? If so, does the profile support and complement what your resume says about you? Consider putting your LinkedIn address on your resume alongside or right under your name and contact information.
4) Spelling and Punctuation. Getting together with relatives or friends over the holidays? Ask one or more of them if they will proofread your resume–just in case you missed anything. (Social etiquette tip: Don't ask them to do this during a holiday gathering! Two or three days later should suffice, after the holiday hoopla has subsided a bit.)
After you make these resume upgrades, you'll be ready to renew your job searching efforts, answer job postings, take advantage of every networking opportunity, and sharpen your interviewing skills. Because the end of a year and the start of a new one are good times to look for work.
Planning to job hunt over the holidays? What tips would you like to share in a comment below? Happy Holidays!
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