That's right. Your waistline isn't the only thing that might need to be trimmed and tucked after the holidays. You never know when opportunity will come knocking, and even if you're happy with your current job
and aren't actively looking for greener professional pastures, it never hurt anyone to give his or her resume a good once over and make appropriate (and warranted) changes. After all, a resume is but a paper summation stating who you are and which of your standout accomplishments sets you apart from the rest of the pack. It is one of the strongest weapons in your professional arsenal.
Three aspects of your resume are of vital importance and should be updated every year:
1. Your Most Recent Career Achievements
If you've spent the last six months slaving over corporate projects or a series of successful business campaigns (whatever their nature may be), you must
include them in your resume. This does two things for you at the same time: it allows you to take stock of how your time on the job was spent and what fruits were borne out of your efforts, and it helps you reevaluate your position in the workforce.
If you've been helping guide your company in the right direction, then you also need to let your boss know during your next review that his or her present success is at least partially due to your past effort. This will pave the way for many things, promotions and pay raises among them.
2. Your Presentation
Most professional recruiters and career counselors will tell you that a good resume is both detailed and
brief. How can this be accomplished? When it comes to listing your credentials, remember that less is more; you don't want to overstuff your resume with every last detail about where you went to college or which company you interned for.
Most of your resume should deal with your professional credentials. Academic credentials are also important, especially if you're a recent graduate or someone who doesn't have much work experience, but employers are looking for proven professionals to join their teams.
Ergo, keep your resume to a maximum one-page length. You may have to do some creative readjusting of fonts, font sizes, and page margins (this should not be too noticeable), but you should be able to keep your most pertinent work details and history on one page. Bullet points are helpful, as are abbreviated statements describing your accomplishments. For example, if you managed a technology firm's training and development division, avoid writing things like "I was the senior manager of ABC Software's Training and Development Program from 2000 to 2007." Instead, write:
- Senior manager, ABC Software Training and Development, 2000-2007.
Remember when you were in junior high and your English teacher made you do those peer reviews with your classmates where you traded papers and then exchanged notes on what worked and what needed fine tuning? Well, the same approach applies to your resume.
Hand your resume out to your friends, family, and significant other and see what they say. If they can't make sense out of something you've listed, chances are neither will a potential employer. If your spouse has no idea what you're talking about, it's time to go back to the drawing board; if, on the other hand, your father, who isn't up to date on aeronautics design, can still make out what your resume is saying, you've hit the bull's-eye.
There's no need to be overly esoteric or pedantic in your resume. This can be a distinct turnoff to employers who may feel that you're cushioning your accomplishments with elaborate descriptions or by trying to "sound smart." Remember, simple is always best — let your work speak for itself.
See 6 Things Attorneys and Law Students Need to Remove from Their Resumes ASAP If They Want to Get Jobs with the Most Prestigious Law Firms for more information.
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