Keep your resume updated even after you land a job

Congratulations! You landed the job of your dreams, or perhaps a stepping stone in the right direction. Now you’re thinking, If I never write another resume again, it will be too soon. I know how you feel, but don’t be so quick to bury this job search tool in the bottom of a dusty drawer.

Though some believe the resume is dead, buried by LinkedIn and other sites that offer online profiles, traditional resumes still have value. They are requested by hiring managers for prospective employees as well as internal promotions even if you post your entire work history online. Updating it while details are fresh on your mind is the easiest way to keep it current. You never know when opportunity will strike, either within or outside the company.

The best resumes go beyond generic job functions, delineating key achievements. Add a section to your resume if not already present, entitled Key Achievements or Highlights. Then, when you are assigned to a special project or task team, earn an award for top customer service or sales results, or initiate an idea that improves processes or saves the company money, add a statement or two in that section. Also, remember to add a section for professional affiliations, industry-related enrichment courses and certifications.

An additional benefit to updating a resume is to ensure that career track changes are reflected on paper. For example, if you are a human resources practitioner who started out in recruiting, but veered off into the benefits function, add that dimension to your profile statement and work experience. Depending on your next career step, tweak the resume to place more emphasis on the portion of your job history that correlates with your targeted role.

Save the document to your desktop or a career folder, so it’s handy and not easily forgotten. Even if you hire a professional to develop it, having all the descriptions and dates recorded will expedite the process. Not only will documenting newly acquired knowledge, experiences and successes enhance your resume in real time, but it’s like giving yourself a pat on the back. We could all use a little reminder now and then of what we have accomplished.

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Smart resume writing

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http://www.cv-templates.info/2009/03/professional-cv-latex/

An article I read on LinkedIn today, “Why Smart People Don’t Get Hired,” seemed to rattle many LI members and I concur with some of the comments. However, there were a few good takeaways with regard to the way we position ourselves in our own mind and how that comes across in a resume.

Job titles

A job seeker once asked me to create a winning title for a LinkedIn profile. My response was that the job seeker is the product being sold and therefore their name and actual occupation, whether Financial Intern or CFO, is the appropriate title. As Maurice Ewing, PhD, pointed out, flashy titles like “financial wizard” are unlikely to draw attention in search results by recruiters or applicant tracking systems.

Establish relevance

Although it may seem like a tactical move to exclude irrelevant work history and skills, some experiences not directly connected to the targeted position offer pertinent information. Illustrate how your experience demonstrates the knowledge, skills, disposition, ingenuity or drive essential to success in the proposed role. Experience may include school groups, clubs and volunteer activities.

Imperfect match

Even though a job description may read as though the responsibilities extend beyond your capability or experience, consider if it is a doable stretch. Read past the activity bullet points and compare the skill and knowledge prerequisites to your own. Good opportunities are not always obvious.

Focus on the employer’s need

Of all the advice in the article, my favorite is the recommendation to convey “accomplishments, talents and skills in succinct ways that speak directly to how they can help an employer.” Remember, from the hiring manager’s perspective, it is not about what you need but why they need you.

Show your value

Being humble has its place, but not while you are selling yourself. Sometimes the most qualified people miss opportunities because they don’t appreciate their own talent. This is your time to shine, so accentuate your accomplishments  on your resume and during interviews.

Please leave a comment to let me know what works for you and if you have other suggestions.