Will you be ready when opportunity knocks?

Everyone who is working today needs a current updated resume even if you are very happy at work!  It is worth the time and effort to update your resume at least once or twice a year.  Add more recent accomplishments to it.  Keep a file of accomplishments even those you have removed so that you can use them if they are appropriate for a particular position for which you are applying.  Those who have a ready resume can immediately respond when that perfect opportunity presents itself. It takes courage to leave a job you love for another that provides a challenge and opportunity for growth.  Be ready for it when it comes your way.  Here are some ideas to think about when writing that resume:

  1. It’s a Marketing Document – Remember your resume is your introduction to the hiring manager.  Its purpose is to convince the manager that you are someone worth interviewing.  Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes.  What is that person looking for?   How do you attract his/her attention?
  2. Show Your Accomplishments – Every accomplishment on your resume can be written in a format: Problem, Solution, Result.  Sometimes the problem is understood and doesn’t need to be stated but the solution and the result must be there.  If you can quantify the result in some way that really adds to your resume.
  3. Grab Their Attention Immediately – Use the top third of the first page to attract their attention.  Give a summary of the achievements that makes you the ideal candidate.  Depending on the job you are applying for, this might include skills that you have or even achievements in a skill. Use whatever works for your particular job level.
  4. Customize Each Resume – It is rare that you will use the same resume for two jobs.  Look at the job ad and familiarize yourself with the job description.  Use some of the words that they use to highlight your experience.  Keep a copy of the resume and the job ad for your files. Be a good record keeper! You’ll want to bring the right resume to your interview.
  5. Use Action Words – Your resume paints a picture of who you are.  Action words make the picture more vivid and dynamic.  Words such as led, delivered, achieved, slashed, transformed etc. give the hiring manager a more desirable picture of your talents.
  6. Eliminate Passive Tense – Using the passive makes it sound like you didn’t do much.  The active voice makes the action yours.  Example: passive -“was chosen to head team that…” or active – “Led team that…”
  7. Use Key words – When applying on line be sure to use words from job ad.  Today most companies use software to scan resumes.  If you haven’t included the words from the job ad, your resume won’t even be read!
  8. Resumes Are Scanned – Some resumes especially snail mailed ones are put in a pile on the desk of the hiring manager.  This person has many resumes to look at.  He or she spends 15 to 20 seconds looking at yours.  Make it easy for the person to scan it for the information they are looking for.  Use bolding appropriately. Make the resume look attractive with lots of white space.  Dense resumes discourage the reader.
  9. Maximum of Two Pages – The objective of your resume is to get the interview not tell your life story.  If you are recently out of school one page is fine.  For people with a long career, two pages, highlighting the last 10 to 15 years, is sufficient.
  10. Use Appropriate Accomplishments – Pick accomplishments that are appropriate for the job you are applying for.  Show that you have had the exact experiences the company needs. If you are applying for a job that is a stretch, include evidence that you are a fast learner and have had to learn on the job in the past.

Want to change your career or move into another industry?  Your current resume will help you get a job that is similar to the job you have right now.  If you need help clarifying what your new career or job will be, a coach can help. Coaches ask questions that get you to really think about what it is you want.  My clients get clear about the strengths, behavioral style and skills they bring to their work.  If you are looking for help in reinventing yourself, I’d love to help you.  Once you are clear about what you want we can together design your new resume.  Call me at 617-240-5353 or email me at asparker@asparker.com.

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