Five Steps to Perfecting Your Resume

Wonder why everyone around you seems to be getting interview calls, while you wait by the phone. If your resume has been out for longer than Elton John than you might needs some help. Here are a few quick tips to get you on your way.

  1. Don’t be trapped by conventions.  Traditional resume templates outline education then experience in reverse chronological order.  While people have been getting hired for decades using the standard, it isn’t necessarily the most effective at grabbing a hiring manager’s attention.  Today, introductory qualification summaries and robust experiential descriptions that aren’t bound by company or chronology are increasingly becoming the preferred norm.  Hiring managers care about how you’ve built skills or engaged in learning tracks relevant to the position.  They care far less about your college honors thesis once you’ve gotten some real world experience under your belt.
  2. Tailor your resume for every application.  Good sense tells us to tailor cover letters.  Resumes are no different, especially if you are applying for jobs in different industries or that require different skill sets.  You may not have time to write 50 different resumes if you are applying to jobs en masse.  Instead, review the relevant job description and make sure that your resume compares favorably.  Even easier, just make sure a few buzzwords from the req make it into your doc (See Link about SEO)
  3. Create and curate your LInkedIn profile and other professional social media sites.  You don’t stop working and neither should your resume.  LinkedIn provides a way to constantly be updating your qualifications and responsibilities as you grow in your profession.  Do not neglect it, but treat it like meticulously groomed crisp parchment you brought to your first post-college job interview.  Build you network with industry and thought leaders in your profession and actively engage with your relevant professional community.  I have gotten countless unsolicited interview requests and job offers off of the strength on my online resume alone.  No stamp or email required.  If you have an hour a day to spend on Facebook or Pinterest, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t put some time into LinkedIn.
  4. Brag subtly.  Attended a prestigious high school, but already 15 years out of college?  Listing dated accomplishments, no matter how important puts you at risk of appearing as an annoying braggart, or worse, a has-been.  Reserve those notes for your interest statements.  “Active Exeter Alumnus” gets the point across without the unnecessary pageantry.  Bonus: these points of pride are far more concrete and compelling than the yawn-worthy and cliched “wine tasting”, “foreign films”, and “travel” notes that unnecessarily weigh down otherwise strong resumes
  5. PDF it before you press send.  All of your hard work could be undone in a matter of seconds if you don’t take this simple step before firing off your precious vitae.  Take the guesswork out of whether a hiring manager will see what you see, by converting your document to an iron-clad and unchanging format.  Many of you already have software allowing for the conversion, but there are a number of free web-based and downloadable options as well (i.e. PDF Converter or Icecream PDF Converter).

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What are your favorite resume tips?

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