Is your resume out of date?

Resume styles change, just like technology and educational requirements. In a job market where hundreds of people apply for every opportunity, you want to look your very best. Here are five tips to help your resume get to the top of the stack.

Most people have an email address, which should be included with the address and phone number. That said, the email address needs to be professional and use your name. Try not to get msmith4985. Try other combinations of your name and initials. Definitely do not use crazymary@whatever.com.

Many people are also on LinkedIn and have professional profiles and recommendations on other sites too. This type of website address may be included if you are a professional. There are several reason to not include it too, but you can be quite sure most employers check social media and find it anyway.  It may be wise to fine-tune your social media sites before embarking on a job search.

On the other hand, if you have a Facebook or MySpace personal website, don’t put it on your resume. If it’s got some really “interesting” information, you can try to clean it up. Just be aware that many things don’t go away and can be found in online searches. Over sixty-percent of employers check social media sites when hiring and admit to being influenced by what they find. You may not like it, but that’s what happens. You decide what’s more important, total freedom on social media or a paycheck.

Every resume should be tailored for a specific position. The changes may be minor, but the resume must fit the job. Don’t let canned job titles and incorrect terminology for the industry get your resume discarded.

Sell yourself with a professional summary, not an objective. Today, companies want to know what you can do for them. They have no interest in hearing what you want.

Make achievements stand out. Use bullet points, active verbs, and results to describe your experience. Be specific about achievements, such as “improved sales of widgets 25% in 2009.”  Every job has something that can be quantified. Think about what was on your last review. How is your job performance rated? A secretary might say “improved production 20% by reorganizing the file system.”

Keep your resume easy to read. Don’t try to cram twenty years of experience into a single page resume. You can’t do it. On the other hand, don’t stretch a year of experience out beyond reason. Old guidelines say keep it to one page. That won’t always work for long careers and technical/professional resumes, but that’s not a license to write a book. An easy-to-read, well-organized resume is the top priority now. Avoid lengthy paragraphs of text that take a lot of time to read. Recruiters and managers are unlikely to spend the time. You have about 90 seconds to get their attention. Scary, isn’t it?

Six No-No’s During A Holiday Job Search

Keep up your job search over the holidays. Although you may be busy and want to forget the problems for a while, so does everyone else. Take advantage of the holiday season and keep actively looking for the right position. Be willing to schedule an interview the day before or the day after a holiday. Be available and demonstrate that your job search still has priority. If you are there, while someone else is out of town, you may end up on the short list in a hurry.  While this is the season to be jolly, there are some things you should not do.

  1. Don’t wear the Santa socks and a reindeer tie to the interview. Save the humor to entertain others after you are hired and know whether this company is a fit for your brand of humor.
  2. Don’t talk come to an interview obviously suffering from last night’s party.  If you can’t function at your peak, don’t party before an interview.
  3. Don’t bring gifts or food to an interview. Your heart may be in the right place, but those things may be against company policy.  Drop the food gifts on your friends, family, veterinarian, beautician, barber, doctor, and others.
  4. Don’t serve liquor, if you arrange a networking party during the holidays. You won’t have to worry about everyone getting home safe (there’s liability for hosts in some states). You also won’t have to worry about anyone misbehaving from over indulging.
  5. Don’t be late due to traffic or weather. Promptness demonstrates your ability to plan and control your schedule. Check the weather reports and allow enough time. If you are early, you can review your notes or take a few moments to visit the restroom and relax a bit. Of course, you don’t have control over flight cancellations or delays, but you do control your personal schedule and transportation.
  6. Don’t decorate your resume for the holidays. It will stand out, but not in the way you intend. Save your creative talents to help decorate at home.

Now, enjoy your holidays and keep looking for that perfect job. You could end up with a lot more reasons to celebrate!