Updating your resume can be about as much fun as pulling teeth (maybe less fun). As tempting as it is to go the easy route and simply add your current work experience/latest project, you want to make sure you have taken other, 21st century updates, into consideration. Remember, you’re in IT – the healthiest, most innovative industry out there; your resume should reflect it!
Here are a few tips from Leslie Ayres’s article, Six Quick Tips to Bring Your Resume into the 21st Century, posted on Work Goes Strong. Leslie is a staffing expert and has over 20 years of experience an executive recruiter (so yes, she knows what she’s talking about):
- Change the Font – nothing screams old-fashioned louder than a serif front like Courier or Times New Roman. These typefaces have a sense of seriousness about them that is the last thing you want when you’re trying to convince someone that there is a great, up-to-date and lively person behind this resume. Better to use a clean sans serif font like Arial or Tahoma, or something a little more elegant and sleek like Century Gothic. And do not, I repeat DO NOT, use some cheesy script of fancy type. Keep is clean and elegant, just make it more modern. Changing the font is an instant makeover. And while you’re at it, make sure you’re aligning things properly. If you don’t know how to use indents and tabs to line up blocks of text, ask someone who does.
- Get Rid of the Objective – starting off with a tightly worded objective used to be the norm, but over the past few years the heading has been replaced with a positioning statement or perhaps some job titles that tell the reader exactly what kind of person this resume belongs to. I love that resume have evolved this way, because as a recruiter, it’s much more helps to see “Online Advertising Sales Executive” than to read a long convoluted sentence like “Objective: To apply my years of sales expertise in a dynamic environment for a growing company where I can expand and contribute to the bottom line and gain new skill.” That is just meaningless, but the first one tells me what you are, and that’s what I needed to know, thanks.
- Use Plan English and Tell Your Story – take a look at the language in your resume, which, as we both know, probably still has the structure and wording that you started with many year and jobs ago, right? It’s no longer in style to use dry corporate speak when talking about work. Your resume is a story about you, so tell it in plain English, using sentences. Write like you talk. The best test if you can read it out loud and it flows and makes sense. The easiest way to write so it sounds natural is to imagine that you’re talking to someone. This is also the perfect time to get rid of all those bullets that have been in fashion for so long; they sound hoppy as we read them, so use them sparingly for highlighting an accomplish or two in each job.
- Include your LinkedIn Profile Link – after I review a candidate’s resume, the next thing I do is find their LinkedIn profile. I’m looking for consistency with their resume, for how many connections they have, and for what kind of recommendations people have written for them. And yes, I confess that I like when there is a photo there, a picture being worth a thousand words and all that. Bust LinkedIn is a bi place, and there many people with the same name, so when you include your link, it saves time and shows that you know how the game is played nowadays.
- Delete those Old Jobs from more than 10-15 Years Ago – some resume coaches say don’t go back more than ten years, but your work experience might need more time to make sense, and might need 20 years if you’re very senior. But weed out the old stuff that doesn’t matter anymore, like that job selling insurance you had when you are 18 or the first career you had as a mechanic. If it’s not germane to the job at hand and isn’t important in your story, just drop it off entirely, since jobs from too long ago can make you look old and old-fashioned.
- Write Your Resume with Key Words in Mind – chances are that your resume will be put into some kind of candidate tracking or search software somewhere, or that you’ll post it up on a board like Monster or The Ladders, and that means it needs to come up in searches. Make sure to use the key words people will be searching form, including their variations, when you talk about your experience. This like the recruiter, searching for th perfect candidate…imagine what they might type into the search box, and make sure those words are found in your resume.
I will also add, Reach Out to Your Recruiter! The best recruiting agencies are the ones that see past the one opportunity to place and genuinely believe in helping you develop as a professional. We are sure to take the time to work with candidates that have questions about their resumes. Let’s face it, recruiters and account managers see more resumes, speak with more candidates, and see more job descriptions than most hiring managers. Use the resources you have!
Kelley Hafer is a Senior Business Development Manager at Anteo Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or questions.