Last year at this time, I offered the following resume spring cleaning tips. These are still relevant, since your resume is a living document and should continue to grow and change along with your career experiences and interests. It is good to take time to regularly revisit, revise and refresh your resume. Sit under your favorite tree, enjoy the warmer temperatures and ponder your next resume reboot and some additional ideas to assist you in springing ahead.
Remove personal pronouns. Your resume is about you, so there is no need to say, “I have developed an updated filing system.” Instead say, “developed an updated filing system.”
Clear up inconsistencies. Use consistent formatting throughout your resume. If your job titles are bolded, then make sure each title is in bold and the same font. If Illinois is abbreviated in your address at the top of your resume, it should be abbreviated in every instance it appears on your resume. Make sure you are making consistent choices throughout your resume.
Highlight your accomplishments. If your resume simply lists job duties for previous positions, you are not focusing on your unique selling points. What did you bring to the position? What value did you add? Change a description of “trained employees” to “trained over 15 new hires by creating realistic client-based scenarios.”
Re-organize as needed. Ensure that the most important information on your resume is very visible. How do you determine what is important? Consider the job you want or the type of job you currently have. What skills and experiences are most relevant in showcasing the skills needed to do your desired job or current position? (Reading over a detailed job description can help with this). If necessary, list only the most relevant career work experiences (in reverse chronological order). Then add another section further down, “Additional Experience,” to list other positions that may be less critical to emphasize.
Proofread, then proofread again! Although obvious, it is important to take the time to make sure your resume is well organized, easy to read and error free. Try proofing from the bottom of your resume and moving up. Sometimes it will help you catch things you may have previously missed.Instead of “I have developed an updated filing system” shorten it to “developed an updated filing system.”
Now that the cleaning is complete, plant some seeds that can provide additional flourish to your professional landscape.
Springboard Idea #1: Where’s your brand? Your resume, as a marketing document, should provide evidence of your personal brand. What positive attributes make you, you? Consider what it is that you want to be known for and the skills and strengths that your colleagues, friends and family would say that you have. Take time to cultivate your brand and document evidence of it on your resume.
Springboard Idea #2: Beyond your resume. As the world of work is changing and the job market is increasingly competitive, it can be difficult to stand out. Consider other ways, beyond your well-developed resume, that you can market your skills and qualifications. Leveraging LinkedIn, creating a blog or becoming an active volunteer are just a small sampling of ways you can increase your visibility and build new connections. Find one new way to share your talent this spring and you might be surprised by the results!
By Kristin Nisbet-White, assistant director of the Millikin Career Center