The purpose of a resume is to give a potential employer a snapshot of you are and what you have done. However, if you have not been updating your resume, your current document will only tell the story of who you were the last time you applied for a job. Updating your resume is a matter of format, relevance and personal improvement. If it is time to update your resume, keep reading for tips to help you along the way.
Help with the Format
There are four common formats that are used in creating a resume: chronological, reverse chronological, functional and combined. The format you choose depends on the job to which you are applying as well as your personal experience.
- Chronological. The chronological resume was the standard format for many years, describing your work experience from when you started until the present.
- Reverse chronological. This format is a variation of the traditional chronological format, except that experience is listed with the most recent first. Because employers want to see relevant experience at the first glance of a resume, this format puts recent experience at the top.
- Functional. The functional format is a skills-based format, focusing more on what you are able to do than work experience. This is a helpful format for people just coming into the job market who do not have much to list in their work histories.
- Combined. This format balances function and work history, allowing you to highlight your best strengths and most relevant experiences.
It’s also a good idea to check out sites that aid in building resumes helping you learn more of the specifics that come with each format as well.
Help with Relevant Information
It is important to remember that a potential employer is concerned with finding the best candidate for his or her workplace. The focus will be on the skills and work experience that are most helpful to his or her industry. As you take another look at your resume, make sure that you are keeping it relevant to the job that you are seeking.
- Avoid technical jargon. Especially if you are moving from one industry to another, it is important to make sure that the language you use is general enough to apply to the new industry setting.
- Remove old information. The employer is not looking for your whole history. A common rule of thumb is to remove information that is over ten years old. Especially in a field like technology, anything older than ten years is simply out of date. This advice can be ignored if what you were doing a decade ago is still relevant in the current job market.
- Remove clutter. It can be helpful to include some information about hobbies or volunteer work that you do, but only if it reflects on you as a potential employee. Hobbies that highlight work-related skills are good to include. For instance, singing in a local choir might point to your ability to work as a team player.
Help with Improving the Content
You might find that, as you look at your resume, you have some catching up to do. You need some new skills or an improved education if you want to go further in your career or enter a new industry. This will be a longer process than reformatting the document, but it is important work for you to do.
One way to start is by consulting career counselling services near you. Not only can this professional help you with the rewriting of your resume, but he or she can also give you tips in getting past any shortcoming you may have. A career counselor can tell you if you need to learn more; if entering a new industry will involve taking a few online certification courses or getting into an advanced degree program.
Online learning is an excellent resource for expanding your resume. Many people take classes in their spare time while they support themselves with another job. As you enter the online education world, make sure that the classes you are taking will be accepted by potential employers. You do not want to have to retake a course because the class you completed did not give you the certification that you needed.
It has been suggested that employers decide whether to reject a resume with a six-second glance. Having an up-to-date and relevant resume can help get your document into the right pile. With a little work, you can present a story that leads to an interview and a new career.