by Jonathan Clark on April 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm
Time To Update Your Resumé?
If the word “layoffs” has crept into your organization’s vocabulary; or you’ve recently started wondering, “What else is out there?”; or you simply recognize the sense of always knowing who you are and what you have to offer; perhaps this is a good time to look at that important tool for selling yourself: your resumé.
Word processing makes it easy to keep your resumé current and specific. NEVER draft a single copy of work information and goals, then take it to the copier. Create a template containing all the information you might present to someone else, then choose appropriate facts for each resume you send. As you write yours, think about these suggestions.
Always have a specific objective that speaks directly to the job you seek, or the organization (or department) you want to join. Avoid general statements like “a job that allows me to use my abilities,” or “the opportunity to do meaningful work.” These statements show laziness! Word the objective based on what you know about the position or the company. Go to the organization’s website to learn about its values, purposes or mission statement.
Make it one page long (maximum two). DO NOT send out multiple-page resumés. (If you work in government or education, that may not apply.) Many HR people tell me they make their first “cut” in the resumé pile by eliminating everything more than two pages. By the way, a recent survey indicates some professionals prefer a two-page resumé, but more still prefer just one page. When in doubt, go with the majority.
Sure, a new organization will eventually want to know more about you. That’s why we have interviews.
- Include only information relevant to the position. Focus on specific accomplishments that saved money, increased effectiveness, helped your department achieve its goals. Don’t just say how long you held a job, and state the obvious job qualifications. What were your greatest successes?
- Use bullet points and short sentences. Ruthlessly eliminate all words and phrases that will not help you get the position.
- Write a cover letter that sells. Make each letter a unique document, modifying your basic letter. Speak directly about the position and its requirements, and demonstrate your enthusiasm. Imagine you’re already face-to-face with the interviewer (you will be, soon enough) and speak to that person conversationally.
- Tell the truth. You have great qualities and marketable assets, without having to make things up. Sooner or later, people will find out.