Hi, Annick here.
Do you sometimes feel your resume isn’t working for you and maybe even working against you? Do you feel it’s a waste of your time and think the resume you have from 5 years ago is good enough? Employers don’t really look at those anyway, right? Think again!
In today's competitive market, having a great resume is key in your job search tool kit and it won’t go anywhere. When done properly, a good resume will help you get noticed and bring you one step closer to your ideal job. But creating and even updating a resume can sometimes feel overwhelming. So, to help you, here are some tips to make this process easier.
Keep a Master Copy
Your current job situation can change in a heartbeat. You never know when a better opportunity will present itself. So always be ready and keep a master copy. Your master copy should list all your professional experience, skills, education, certifications, community engagements and accomplishments. Every time you learn a new skill, complete new training, or do volunteer work, add them to your master copy. When in need of a resume, you can just adapt your master copy to the job you are applying for, which brings me to my next tip.
Tailor Your Resume for the Job You Want
Every time you send your resume, it should be tailored to the job for which you are applying (notice the bold and the double underline under every time?) This means that there is some research to be done. The easiest way to tailor your resume is to use the job description to guide you. What exactly are they looking for? Look for key words. For example, if you see the words strong communicator, advanced communication skills and ability to connect with clients through various communication outlets, well you must include and highlight communication on your resume (assuming that it is a strong skill for you and that you meet that qualification).
Modernize Your Resume
Make sure that your resume looks the part. If you used the same resume template for the last 5 years, it is time for an update. Whether you are using a one column or two-column template, make sure that the design is current and appropriate to the job you are coveting. It is even acceptable to add some colour, but don’t go overboard. A resume resembling a rainbow will get you noticed, but not in a good way. Stick with one or two earth tone colours and for those of you who feel a colour is added pressure, you can stick with the classic black and white.
And here is an extra tip: match your cover letter to your resume. Having consistency between your cover letter and resume will demonstrate professionalism and attention to detail.
Have an Eye-Catching Professional Profile
Remember this objective on top of your resume: College trained administrative assistant seeking a position as an executive administrative assistant, where I can apply my strong organizing abilities and efficient communication skills?
It was a way to convince the employer that you knew what you wanted in a job. Even if it was a clear way to state what you wanted; it is not what is expected anymore. We are now suggesting that you move towards a professional profile where you can highlight what you can offer to the potential employer instead of what you want. This is your opportunity to showcase your skills, strengths and qualifications. To better clarify, here is an example:
Office Management and Administration professional with 15 years experience. Highly dependable and recognized as a strong communicator who values efficiency and service excellence. Recognized as a leader and problem solver with pride in operational success.
See the difference?
Say No to Typos!
I know you already know this but let me repeat: Spelling errors or typos on your resume are a big no-no. Make sure it’s proofread before sending out your resume to any employer. Having spelling mistakes on your resume will turn off an employer and could cost you your chance of getting that job. If writing is not your strong suit, ask someone to write it for you.
And if you need even more tips on writing a strong and professional resume, have a look at our free guide to create a resume that stands out.