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'Tis the Season To Update Your Résumé
December 2009

With 2009 coming to an end, the holidays are a perfect time to either to re-evaluate your current position, or to reflect on your accomplishments. Get ahead of your New Year’s Resolutions and take advantage of your holiday vacation by renovating your résumé.

What steps do you need to take to begin a résumé renovation?

Ensure that your personal information is accurate. Did you move? Change your e-mail address or phone number? If your résumé is more than one page, ensure your personal information is updated on subsequent pages.

Change your objective statement. Does your objective pertain to the position for which you are applying? It is okay to have a general objective, but there should be some focus on the industry or your expertise for the specific job. I typically have three or four different versions of my résumé based off the different job objectives and areas of focus.

Update your most recent job experiences. Take some time and think about the many things you have done over the past year. Capture your latest projects and accomplishments and think of things that you can quantify. It is not enough to say what you did, your résumé should also articulate how well you did something and what sort of impact you made within your role and organization.

I encourage you to grab a pen and some paper and ask yourself some of the following questions in order to renovate your résumés with meaningful accomplishments.

  • Were you selected to participate in any special projects? Highlight your being singled out due to your expertise in a particular area.

  • Did you enhance your knowledge and skills through special training/professional development opportunities?

  • Was your work recognized by the organization through an award? If so, what was the reason for your award and how did your work ultimately impact the company?

  • Did you recommend any changes to policies, processes and procedures that have eliminated inefficiencies and/or improved operational performance?

Review your oldest job. Look at your earliest job and ask yourself if it is still relevant. Remember that you want to try to keep your résumé to only one or two pages long, so remove any dated information.

Use Google to your advantage. Conduct a search on the job or field of expertise you want to pursue. Pay attention to the keywords that you consistently come across. Look at résumés posted by others in your area of expertise. What do they look like? Now that you have an idea of the most popular key words and résumé formats, update your résumé accordingly. Most employers use technology to screen résumés, if you are missing vital keywords, your résumé will never be viewed by a recruiter.

Check and double check! Always check and double check your spelling, grammar and sentence structure. Your résumé is a reflection on your writing abilities. Have someone else read your résumé and critique it for you.

Touch base with your references. The holidays are a good time to touch base with your references to catch up and ensure the information you have for them is still accurate. Make sure they are people, if called upon, who are knowledgeable about your work history and can speak to your strengths.

You never know who you might be shaking hands with at a holiday party, so update your résumé and have it ready to go should an unexpected opportunity arise!