When updating your resume, aim for improvement, not just additions or deletions.
Start by making sure your contact information is correct and professional. I have found errors in candidates’ email addresses and phone numbers. Employers will spend zero time trying to find you if your information is incorrect or incomplete.
You will also make a less than desirable impression with a less than professional email address. Even if it represents your personal life, addresses such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org are distractions and have no place on your resume. Instead, create an email address specifically for your job search. Use your first name and last name before the @ in the address.
I recommend gmail as the service that is accepted by most servers. Yahoo and AOL block email from certain hosting services, and you may miss an email from a prospective employer because of it.
Likewise, customize your LinkedIn profile URL so that it is easier to use on career documents.
Instructions for doing that appear in the LinkedIn Help Center.
Your resume needs to focus on the employer’s needs, not yours.
In addition to replacing an objective with a qualifications summary, you can raise your success quotient by targeting the requirements of the job description. Employers don’t care to spend time with extraneous information. Tailor your career documents to address the specific needs of the company to which you are applying.
Use examples rather than assertions on your resume. Assertions usually contain a lot of adjectives: “Ambitious and personable team player with substantial experience in sales and marketing.” At least a million candidates can and probably do use that sentence. You need to set yourself apart with specific information about what makes you the best person for this job.
The way to do that is not by telling the employer how great you are. Instead, show them by listing concrete examples of your success at the things that matter most to them. These are called accomplishments, and they sound like this: “Increased sales from $1 million to $5 million in first year, followed by 20%+ annual increases, 2012 to 2015.”
If you’re not sure what your accomplishments are, ask yourself:
- What did you do that was unique?
- What did you do that set a record?
- Did you achieve any “firsts” in this position? What were they?
- Did you assume new responsibilities that weren’t part of your original job? Doing what?
- Why were you selected for these new responsibilities?
- What did you improve?
If improving your resume with these suggestions sounds overwhelming enough to make you want to hide under the covers or at least keep your old, awful job, contact me today. I can help make sense of the job search world and turn that overwhelmed feeling into confidence.
Image courtesy Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.