Even if you’re not actively looking, it’s vital to keep your resume updated.
After all, your dream job could come up at any moment. A recruiter might contact you via LinkedIn, a friend or colleague could refer you for a new role, or perhaps you’ll stumble onto a cool posting while surfing a website. According to recent surveys, 80% of companies are now using LinkedIn to look for talent, referrals have nearly doubled in recent years, and current employees are now filling nearly half of all transfers and promotions.
To be prepared for all these possible opportunities, take time now to craft a strong primary resume that you can tailor and tweak as needed for any particular submission.
“A great resume is your key advertisement – it’s your personal branding that could lead to the meeting that could change your life,” says 1SmartLife Career Coach Mary Graham.
Here are her quick tips to get your resume ready:
Draw in keywords. Seed your text with the buzz phrases from your career discipline and make sure to include any skills that match the job requirements that you are applying for in your summary. Recruiters often use a search tool as part of their process of elimination. So be sure to include their applicable words in your resume, says Mary. For example, if applying for a job as a “project manager,” and your previous job description is as an office manager but you have project management experience, don’t change your title, but be sure to describe yourself as “an office manager with project management experience.” This way, you’re more likely to make it onto the recruiter’s final “call” rather than “discard” list.
Deploy “power” verbs to describe accomplishments. Many people simply list their job responsibilities – which reads like an obituary! Instead of using “responsible for,” try “created,” “managed,” or “delivered” to show your results orientation. If you can’t develop lively bullet points about your successes, why should anyone else get excited? As Mary notes, this will also give you a starter set of talking points for the (hopefully) next-step interview.
Don’t spell out numbers (or go on too long in general). It’s a simple fix, but “300%” just looks better than “three hundred percent.” Writing out numbers “hides” them in your text when they should leap off the page for your busy reviewer. Also be as concise as possible throughout your document. Except in particular fields, such as in academia, Mary recommends that your resume should never run more than two pages and should not look overcrowded.
Develop “T” structure cover letters. Consider these a critical part of your prep and marketing pitch. Mary suggests using the “T” structure – an intro paragraph on top, then a table listing the job’s key requirements on the left, your qualifications on the right. This structure is a great tee-up (pun intended) to your resume, showing just how well you can make the case that you’re a perfect match for your dream job. Instead of scrambling, you’re ready, or as Mary likes to put it, you’ve successfully arrived at “that moment in life when opportunity meets preparation.”
Want more help to shape a standout resume? Join Mary for a free teleseminar on Resume Writing on Tuesday, April 30, 7:15-8:15 PM EST.
Over the past 18 years, Kelly has successfully coached business leaders and people from all walks of life to reach their highest potential. With a Master’s in counseling, professional coach and mediation certifications, and 20 years of Human Resources experience, she has successfully helped others define their dreams and create pathways to success. She is the creator and owner of 1 Smart Life, LLC a new style of personal coaching with a team of experts in all of life’s challenging areas.