This time of year brings the opportunity for new beginnings, and a determination to make something better. Whether you resolve to get a new job, go for that promotion, stick to a healthy diet, or hit the gym more – it’s a good time for reflection.
This is particularly true about your career. You may be currently on the job hunt, or thinking about starting. You need an effectively-written resume to greater your chances of landing an interview. Just as you put together an exercise routine that’s specific to your personal needs, your resume needs to be aligned with your particular job search. Take the time to evaluate yours, and be sure it’s in line with what you presently need. Treat it like a trip to the gym – and workout your resume!
Run Some Drills
Review your resume and go through some exercises. Put it through some training – make sure it tells your career story effectively. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you give your resume a workout:
- Is it focused? Just like you train certain muscles for different outcomes, your resume needs to be aligned with your current career path for your desired results. If your professional summary talks about being a trained chef with excellent cooking skills, and you’re applying for roles as an IT consultant – you should rewrite your profile to clearly show your preferred job, and capabilities for that role. Use the descriptions from jobs you want and reference keywords and phrases directly related to your goals to align your resume with available positions.
- Are you showing measurable results? Saying you saved the company money two years in a row is great – but how much money was it? And how did you do it? Quantify your information to give hiring managers greater insight into your abilities and accomplishments. (To see how to quantify read the article “By The Numbers: Quantify Your Resume for Maximum Impact”)
- Do you tailor it each time? You wouldn’t work the same muscles every single time using the same routine – don’t use a generic resume for each job application. Customize it to match the roles you desire. Showcase specific achievements that help put you ahead of other candidates.
- Can you be called to the front of the gym class? Include your full name, email, and phone number on the top of each page of your resume. It’s not necessary to include three phone numbers of every place you can be reached – keep it less confusing and use only one. Also use a professional-sounding email address, such as your first and last name.
- How long is it? You shouldn’t work out all day, every day (unless, of course, that is your job). We keep things to certain lengths for desired results. The same goes for your resume; if you’re emailing out a 15-page short story, it’s likely not to be read. Depending on your professional level, it should be one to two pages. (How long should yours be? Check out “Q&A From the Trenches: Your Resume–Two Pages, Too Long?”)
Allow Cool-Down Time
Put your updated document aside for a short time, and then review it again before sending it out. After you’ve had a period away from it, you’re more likely to catch errors, and be able to make last fixes before you begin distributing it. Give it to a family member or friend to look over who will provide the necessary feedback you need – be sure they can offer an objective point of view!
Make It a Routine
It would be great if we could go to the gym once – and walk out in the best shape of our lives! But that’s not the way it works. So what do you do? You put together an exercise routine to follow. Do the same with your resume; make sure you routinely review it, and regularly make adjustments to keep it consistent with your search and current career goals.
Now is a great time to give your resume a workout. Put it through a few drills to evaluate what you’re currently using, and assess adjustments to be made. You need a document with strong content that is focused on your personal job goals and career path – make sure your resume is helping you reach your desired outcome!