Spring has arrived! And with it comes a list of things many of us haven't been able or willing to do over the winter, such as go outside for a run, play catch on the lawn, or clean the garage.
It's also a good time to spruce up your resume. If you're looking for a new job, you'll be glad to know the latest statistics point to an improving job market—but the competition is still fierce. So rather than cleaning the garage or lacing up your running shoes, why not improve your chances at landing that new job by giving your resume a good "spring cleaning"?
Take a good, hard look at your resume and ask yourself these five questions:
- Does your resume communicate your value? Does everything in your resume—the professional summary, your experience, and your skills—adequately communicate what you can do for the employer? Does it all paint a compelling, cohesive portrait of you? Does it send the message "Hire me because I'm that good" rather than "I'm average; hire me if you want."?
- Is your experience up to date? If you've added an extra duty or two, such as to cover for someone who had been laid off, add them to your most recent job listing in the experience section, especially if they can improve your chances at landing a particular position.
- Do you emphasize accomplishments? What differences have you made in your current and previous roles? How did you help your employers make money? Save money? Improve a product, service, or work process? Those are the things that must jump out at the reader, since employers look for someone who can deliver results.
- Is it pleasing to the eye? Show your resume to someone whose opinion you trust and whom you won't cop an attitude with or write out of your will if they disagree with you. Does your resume give them a positive impression at first glance?
- Everything spelled and punctuated correctly? After you've done all your updating, read over your resume once more. Then read it again. And again. And maybe even once more for good measure. Review every word for spelling and usage, and make sure everything is punctuated correctly and consistently. For example, if the name of one former employer is followed by a comma, make sure the names of all employers are followed by commas. If you don't trust your judgment here, find the most persnickety grammar and spelling geek you can find to review it for you.
Go ahead and edit your resume—now! Then, treat yourself to a nice run around the neighborhood, or a date with all that junk in your garage.
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