None of us need reminding that the economy is in the tank right now. In this tight job market, every small thing can mean the difference between landing a job and being unemployed. Today we’re going to focus on one of those “small” things: our resume. I don’t know everyone’s story out there, but I’m sure many of you are looking for work. And having an updated, sharp looking resume is an essential part of networking like a man.
Even if you have a job, it’s a good idea to update your resume. Why? Well, first, there’s a chance you could lose your job, and you want to be able to start looking for new work immediately instead of having to spend time working on your resume. Second, perhaps a better job opportunity will show up. Many times, such opportunities are time sensitive, meaning the first to get his foot in the door usually gets the job. We all need to be ready for these opportunities when they present themselves by having resumes that are ready to be printed off and placed in someone’s hand.
So today’s task is to update our resumes. If you don’t have a resume, then today’s a good day to start one. I’d suggest first reading our How to Write a Resume article.
Before we get to the task, let’s take a look at 7 pointers to ensure that we all have killer resumes.
Tips for Updating Your Resume
1. Brainstorm. First, check to see if there’s anything you can add to update your resume. If you look down at your resume and nothing comes to you, pull out an empty sheet of paper and list all the projects you’ve worked on, all the training you’ve accomplished, and any awards you’ve received since the last time you looked at your resume. If you’ve done any volunteer work during that time period, add that too.
2. Eliminate outdated info and “padding.” Now that we’ve made a list of new stuff that we can add, take a hard look at your current resume and your new list of items. Are there items on your current resume that are just padding? Perhaps there’s some achievement on your new list that is much stronger and impressive than what you currently have. If so, replace the old achievement with the new. Update any new certifications you may have received. And make double sure that all your contact info is up-to-date. You don’t want to miss a job opportunity because you gave your old phone number and email in your resume.
3. Update your format. If you’re like most people, when you first wrote your resume, you probably just used a MS Word template. But we want our resumes to stand out. It’s hard to be unique if you use the same template that every other candidate is using. Instead of using a Word template, take a look at some sample resumes online. Below, we’ve included a few online resources you can use in your research. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask friends and colleagues in the same field as you if you can see their resumes to get inspiration on how to format yours.
4. Replace fluff words with concrete language and specific numbers. Your resume is no time to be vague. So phrases like “Good people skills” have to go. Instead, replace such vague phrases with action words that give specific numbers. Instead of saying “Good people skills” say something like “Managed 45 employees and conducted monthly interviews with each of them.”
5. Triple check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Your resume is probably the first impression you’ll have on a future employer, so you want it to be the absolute best. Having spelling and grammar mistakes isn’t the way to leave a stellar first impression. Run through your resume several times and check for any errors or typos. Read it out loud to yourself. Have a friend or a mentor look it over, too.
6. Give it a face lift. Finally, you want to polish off your resume so it gleams among the stacks of inanity on an employer’s desk. One way you can do this is to make simple changes in the font and spacing.
7. Create digital copies. After you’ve updated your resume, make digital copies of it so you can access your resume at the drop of a hat. I always keep a copy of my most current resume saved in my Gmail inbox in case I need to print one off while I’m away from my computer or I need to email it to a potential employer. Also, I recommend attaching a USB drive with your updated resume to your key chain. That way if you ever need a resume, you just plug and print.
The Task: Update Your Resume
There you go. Seven simple suggestions to help you update your resume. Now, take an hour today and update yours. Go to the 30 Days to a Better Man Community and upload a file of your resume to show what you’ve done and get some feedback. And who knows? You might even find a new job from doing it.