Revamping your resume is the next important step in a series of tasks to complete in a successful job search. Reassessing your resume is particularly important if you have not applied for a new job in awhile or if you’ve been unemployed for over a year or even a day. Just like the important first impression when you meet someone for the first time, your resume is your first impression to a potential employer; this is true even if you’re applying for a job in the same company.
Working as an HR Manager, I’ve received dozens of resumes from employees hoping for a promotion. The problem is that many of them have never bothered to update their resume. They assume that the interview panel will “know” what they do and that they do it well and then they can’t understand why they didn’t get the promotion. Picture yourself going after a VIP – very important position. Now picture the line of applicants extending around the block. The last visual image should not be you, with a 5 year old resume in hand. What do you think is your chance of success at getting hired?
Let’s start at the basics. Put your resume aside for just a moment and take out a fresh sheet of paper. On that paper, make a list of all the knowledge and skills that you possess. Don’t cheat by looking at your resume, brainstorm to see how many skills you can write down. You may be amazed that some of the skills that you possess, never even made it to your resume. It’s important, however, that you list only the skills that you actually possess.
Once you have your list, it’s time to do some research. Take your list of skills and spend some time looking on the Internet, through newspapers, employment guides and any other job search media that you can find, to see just how many jobs your skills match. For example, the administrative assistant in my office not only handles correspondence, but payroll and also helps with the recruiting process. If possible, cut out or make a copy of those ads. The idea is to not base your job search on titles.
Take a look at the words in the ads that you’ve identified. It doesn’t matter if you call them “buzz words” or “key terms”, it’s important that you speak the language of the company that you are applying to. Look at the words that the ad uses to describe the knowledge and skills for the position. The recruiter should be able to instantly recognize that you have the skills required for the position. Your resume will move up faster if the recruiter does not have to guess.
While matching the skills required in the ad to the skills you possess, it’s important that you tell the truth. There is nothing worse then getting a job because you said that you acted as a “liaison” between the director and the rest of the company, if all you did was bring him coffee from the lunchroom. The company will have expectations and your goal is to land and keep the job.
A good resource for finding generic job descriptions is on the O’Net Online website (www.onetcenter.org). This site is a list of every occupational classification. You can type in a key word and you will find the generic job specifications for that title. You can also perform a skill search. This allows you to check your current skills and it will list occupations that utilize that particular skill set. This will provide excellent information to help you build your resume.
A resume should not be too long, but it should be tailored to spotlight the skills that are most applicable to the job to which you are applying. Keep in mind that every potential employer is possibly reviewing hundreds of resumes. It is important that your resume stands out as the best fit for that job. You may need to prepare more than one resume depending on the type of job you are applying for.
Organizing your resumes is just as important a step as organizing the rest of your job search. It is important that you not only log the fact that you sent a resume on your job search chart, but keep a copy of the resume and cover letter that you submitted. You want to be able to talk about your submission when the recruiter or interviewer makes the pre-screening call. It also helps you highlight the right information. You don’t want to talk to a recruiter about your dog walking side business, if they are calling you about an accounting position.
There are those that suggest that you should have a professional prepare your resume. No one knows your knowledge and skills better than you do. Besides if money is tight, which it is for most unemployed people, you can prepare a solid resume that will definitely get you noticed. If you have been unemployed for a while, you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself. You need to find out what variety of occupations match your skills. Who knows, just because you’ve worked as a bank teller for years, you may enjoy working as a payroll clerk or administrative assistant.
Revamping your resume takes time. Give yourself enough time to make sure that you take a critical reassessment of your resume. Remember there may be hundreds of people out there applying for the same job. With a little brainstorming and research, your success is right around the corner.