How to Update Your Resume

A good resume is simply an advertisement that tells prospective employers that you can do the job they have open, that in fact you’re the best candidate for that job. You might be the nicest person they’d ever want to meet. You might have learned amazing things in your lifetime and be terribly interesting. The employer doesn’t care about any of that. All they want is to find the right person for their company that will help make the business more profitable.

Therefore, your resume is the most important document you’ll need for that job hunt. It’s not the only document you’ll need, but we’ll get to that later in this article. For now, the resume is first in your arsenal of weapons to help you get the perfect job. Your resume may be well done, well put together, a veritable piece of artwork, but unless it gets the attention of the potential employer, it’s just another piece of paper. And it only has about ten to twenty seconds to do exactly that, grab their attention. So, how do you do that?

There are several pointers to follow to get that interviewer to pause, smile and put that resume in their must-call pile. For starters, it seems simplistic to say you should make sure it’s neat and orderly, but you would be surprised at how resumes are often submitted. They should be typed, on good stock white paper, in a normal font, in black ink. You might think you’re being unique to use scented pink writing paper, but that uniqueness will get your resume tossed very quickly, into the round file. It’s essential to be professional here; anything less will get tossed and fast. If you submit your resume in any way that’s unprofessional, the interviewer will take that to mean you’re not serious, in which case they will not seriously consider you.

There are many acceptable formats for your resume, but they must all contain the basics the employer is looking for when they scan it. And that’s something else too. They won’t read it completely at first, all they’ll do is scan it quickly, looking for keywords that let them know you’re the right candidate.

� While you should include all pertinent information about yourself, keep it succinct and to the point. Leave plenty of white space in between the paragraphs. Shorter chunks of information are easier to scan.

âÂ?¢ Use bullets to point up your achievements, talents and skills. They’re eye-catching, making sure the interviewer focuses on them, getting his/her attention.

� Add details and especially numbers, to point up your accomplishments. If sales increased thanks to you, say so. This is no place to be shy and hide your light under a bushel. Let your talents be known.

âÂ?¢ Use powerful words and phrases. This is no place for namby-pamby phrasing and weak words. Find words that have punch and actually mean something. You didn’t move things along, you accelerated them. You didn’t set up a program, you launched it. You didn’t help make a little money, you generated sales. You didn’t take on some problems, you tackled them. You get the idea. Find words that crackle with electricity, not words that just lay there on the page.

The first topic of immense importance that the interviewer will look for is the Objective. You may be tempted to get wordy with this section, but don’t. Keep it short and sweet. If the employer you’re approaching is looking for a sales manager, use that as your objective. If your objective says anything beyond what they’re looking for, it will get tossed. Objectives that tend to run on and on-will get tossed. Any resume that doesn’t contain an objective-will get tossed.

When you put together a chronological resume, that is, your work history, in reverse order, you always list the current or last employment first, then work your way backward in time. You needn’t list absolutely every single job you’ve ever had, but be sure to list the jobs that are pertinent to what you’re looking for right now. If you want a position in sales, be sure and list all the jobs that are pertinent to that industry. Having said that, try to avoid any gaps in your employment history. Gaps tell the interviewer you weren’t working during a certain period and that doesn’t look good. If during that time you were self-employed, you should list that of course. That shows your initiative and ability to work unsupervised.

If you have earned degrees, by all means list them, especially if they’re pertinent to the job you’re seeking now. Business degrees are helpful regardless of the industry for which you’re aiming.

Once upon a time, people used to include their interests and hobbies on their resumes. Potential employers simply don’t take the time while scanning to look for these things anymore. Leave them out. If, at the interview, they ask such questions of you, you can fill them in then.

The second most important document you’ll need in the hunt for a job is a cover letter. This should always accompany your resume. Make sure that it’s targeted to a specific person in the company you’ve selected. Addressing it to human resource won’t cut it. That says you didn’t do your homework. Always have a contact name within the HR department. And yes, you’ll need a separate cover letter for each resume you submit.

Doing your homework about the company you’d like to work for, making sure your resume shines and has punch, will get you that interview. Then you can wow them with your abilities and show them how interesting you are and all you’ve learned.

Good Job Hunting!

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