2017 is set to be a great year. So, let’s start off with a great resume to get us at the front of the job search line. Polishing up your resume is like polishing up your best shoes. First impressions are everything!
Here are a few dos and don’ts to get you started:
- Keep your resume up to date. You never want to be caught off-guard when a potential employer asks you for a resume. Besides, keeping your resume up to date prevents you from having to think back to what you did years ago.
- Include details of your past work experience. Add in quantifiable information that will help an employer to really understand what you did. Here are a few things you can include: How many people you managed, how large your budget was, how many sales you generated, how many clients you had, how much you improved performance, how often you completed a particular task. You get the idea. There are lots of things you can quantify.
- Include your educational information, including courses you may have taken after college or graduate school. Employers want to know who you are, and this is another way to show them.
- Do include the work you’re doing outside of work. Do you run a side consulting business? Have you been volunteering at a local non-profit?
- Don’t include your graduation year if you have any concerns about it. You may not want an employer to know your age – whether you are young or old. You also may not want to have to explain why it took ten years to finish undergraduate school due to a family issue of some kind. You don’t have to include your graduation year.
- Don’t include your GPA. Unless you are right out of college and applying for a highly technical job (like engineering), employers rarely care about this. The more senior you are in your career, the odder your GPA looks in your resume.
- Don’t leave typos. I know – you aren’t applying to a spelling bee. But, this is the thing. Many employers (MANY) say that they will toss your resume in the trash (yes, in the trash) when they find a typo. I know it’s dramatic and completely nit-picky, but let’s just play the game by the rules we’re dealt. Run spell check. Ask your most detailed oriented friend to comb through it for you. Don’t leave any stone unturned here.
- Don’t include unneeded information. You don’t need to include your reference list, or even that references are available upon request. And, almost always, you don’t need to include your high school or information dating back to high school (unless you’re right out of college and have something significant to show).
- Don’t include information about controversial views. I know you love your place of worship. I know you feel passionate about your political views. Everyone does, and I totally respect that. But, unless you are applying to a company that specifically aligns to your views, you may be judged negatively for including yours. This is a personal decision, but most people want to be judged on their professional merits when applying for a job – not their personal views.
Don’t wait! Start updating your resume now. And, once you have it in a spot you like, save it as a PDF and send it to yourself in an e-mail. That way, if you’re ever out and about and someone says, “I’d love to get a copy of your resume!” (this does happen), you’ll be prepared. You can say, “Sure, I can do that right now! What’s your email address?” I can personally attest to this: having a resume on the spot can work wonders.