Does Your Resume Need to be Refreshed?

Nancy Anderson
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First impressions are extremely important, especially in a highly competitive job market where job seekers rule the day. Your resume often represents the first impression you give employers. If you're not getting a call back on your job search, maybe it's time for a resume refresh to see what happens. If you're tried-and-true methods don't go anywhere, use these techniques for something different.

Heading

The heading serves as an introduction to your resume. Keep it concise with your name, email, cellphone number and URL to your LinkedIn profile. This is really all an employer needs to know in terms of your vital information. Your LinkedIn profile is a gateway to your online presence, and your cellphone number and email offer two ways to contact you.

Leave off anything that may reveal your age, marital status or even your address. If you live out of state, in another city or even in the wrong neighborhood, someone may have preconceived notions of how you get to work. The hiring manager may decide your commute is too long and could disqualify you from consideration because he fears you may not arrive to work on time. Don't let an address ruin your job search.

Professional Summary

The professional summary section was once called the objective. Your professional summary contains a few bullet points, usually around four or five, that summarize your most pertinent job skills. Think of your highest-level attributes that are unique to you, and you have your main bullet points.

Don't offer cliched or empty statements that anyone can say. You want your professional summary to stand out from the crowd right away on a job search.

Education

List the university you attended and the degrees obtained. Leave off your date of graduation so the hiring manager doesn't inadvertently think you are the wrong age for the job. You don't need your grade point average or relevant courses. The fact that you graduated from college with a relevant degree suffices.

Experience

Focus on the most relevant and most positive impact you made with your previous employers. This means concrete facts, such as increasing sales percentages over a certain period of time, projects you completed or the problems you solved. Try not to get into your responsibilities since others can claim the same basic job duties. Avoid vague wording that's not specific to what you accomplished.

Skills

Showcase specific skills as noted in the job qualifications. Although you don't need a skill for every job qualification, having the top three or four skills captures the attention of hiring managers while on your job search. List soft skills, such as leadership, communication and interpersonal skills that indicate you're well-rounded. Again, avoid being vague with words like efficient, detail-oriented and honest.

Achievements and Honors

This is the place where you list your awards, such as Employee of the Month. Keep these relevant to your job search by listing only professional achievements you can leverage into proof of your skills and experience.

Get a resume refresh with these brief tips as you embark on your job search. You may get more callbacks using these methods and find a position that is tailored to your skill set.


Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • SHARON RITCHIE
    SHARON RITCHIE

    I'm on board with this. I, too, have been out of work taking care of my Mom. She died this past November and finding that many employers feel that I am outdated and rusty. When asked about gaps, I just explain that I was taking care of my Mom and move on.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Sherwin Start thanks for your comment. Actually, most companies will hesitate to even bring you in for an interview if you have been out of work for a long time. They don't want to take the time to bring you up to speed in the new position; they want someone who can hit the ground running. They figure that your skills are outdated and rusty. I have to agree, though, that a person who hasn't worked in awhile is going to be excited and motivated! @Gwen Keno -you explain it just like that. You explain in a brief sentence in your cover letter that you have been out of the job market due to caring for an ailing relative and then move on. Make sure, though, that your skills are up-to-date. Even if you may have to take a refresher course or something - just to keep your skills current. Hope that helps.

  • Sherwin Start
    Sherwin Start

    THERE Can Be any number of REasons for an absince from working-That DOES NOT mean that u are unemployable !!If a perspective Employer wants to know- Just be honest and tell them why .. In the Past I have hired people that had been out of work for ten years or more- and they ALL have turned out just fine -in fact some of them are the BEST Employees that I ever had !!

  • Gwen Keno
    Gwen Keno

    I have been taking care of my sick mom for three years. How do you explain a three year laps between jobs?

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