Whether you’re on the prowl for a new job or simply keeping your options open, it’s important to maintain an up-to-date resume that showcases your best assets.
While the concept of updating your resume may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be.
Ready for less radio silence and more promising responses? Focus on making these four tweaks.
1. Start with a summary.
Before diving into your job history, kick things off with a summary. This should serve as a condensed yet comprehensive synopsis of who you are, your unique strengths, and what you bring to the table.
Here’s the format that I use for mine, which you can feel free to steal:
[Industry] professional, offering expertise in [Strength 1, Strength 2, and Strength 3.] Skilled at [big-picture objective relevant to your desired role.]
While your experience indicates whether or not you’re qualified, your summary showcases the value you’ll provide.
2. Use strong language.
Feeling stuck as a recent grad or entry level employee? Instead of getting frustrated by the lack of experience on your resume, start sprucing up what you’ve got.
For instance, change “helped with database” to “independently managed company records.” Swap “updated website” for “maintained official company website, implementing structural and content updates to improve user experience and promote timely news.” #WordChoiceWins
Applying for a managerial role? Make sure that your leadership experience is clearly emphasized. This will secure a prospective employer’s confidence in your ability to take charge and thrive.
Here are my go-to words to use:
Bottom line? Never blatantly lie about your responsibilities, but don’t sell yourself short. Training is time-consuming, and employers will always gravitate toward the candidate who requires less hand-holding.
3. Own your wins.
Do you find it uncomfortable to talk yourself up? Does it feel “brag-y” to show off your success?
Well, I’ve got some tough love for you. Your resume is the worst possible area to be humble.
When applying for a role, it’s important to keep in mind that a prospective employer will dig through dozens of resumes that look very similar to yours.
In order to stand out, your resume should illustrate your specific contributions and how you made a positive impact on the bottom line.
Identify where you helped the company cut costs or improve efficiency. Mention how you brought in new business or boosted morale.
A relevant background is important to an employer, but not as critical as what you can do for them.
4. Determine your dream role, and work backwards.
In my last position, it’s safe to say that I did a little bit of everything. While I was officially part of the public relations team, my role expanded to encompass copywriting, content strategy, and social media management.
Juggling multiple responsibilities was often stressful, but it also helped me gain clarity around my long-term professional goals.
After recognizing my love for creative strategy and content creation, I decided to break free from the public relations space and dive down the digital marketing path.
Since my experience was technically in the public relations industry, it was especially important to adjust my resume accordingly.
I made several structural updates, ensuring that my content and marketing-related experience was front-and-center. I also expanded on certain points to paint a stronger picture of my specialized expertise.
As a result, I recently landed a content and digital marketing position that aligns perfectly with what I love and where I excel.
So before you start fine-tuning and wordsmithing your resume, pause and ask yourself where you want to be.
Determine the specific skills that would catch your ideal employer’s eye, and highlight how you can speak to them.
While a certain career path may “make the most sense,” pay attention to what lights your spark.
You’ll find that it’s much easier to describe what you do when you’re genuinely excited about it.
Which tip was most helpful for you? Let me know in the comments!