NEW YORK (1/12/09)-—Reports of layoffs have many people thinking about dusting off their resumes, just in case. If yours is in need of an overhaul, you have two options: Use a professional resume writer, or follow these tips to do it yourself (Wall Street Journal
Dec. 31). When hiring someone, shop carefully and compare prices. Ask for sample resumes and seek reactions from previous customers. If you prefer to update it yourself to save money, consider starting with an objective statement that specifies what kind of work you’re seeking. You can include this on your cover letter instead but, by formulating it now, you can better structure your resume writing. Experts generally encourage highlighting your strengths or qualifications at the top of your resume followed by your professional experience. Also include a brief educational background and a section that highlights technical skills (computer or language skills.) Resume-help.org
recommends using one or two pages and no smaller than a 10-point font. Career builder site Monster.com
offers more tips:
* Research your target job. Whether you’re switching to a new position or a new field, thoroughly research your target industry by searching job postings online or from other ads. Look for recurring keywords and incorporate them into your resume to match employers’ needs. A custom resume is more likely to land you an interview than a generic one. * Focus on achievements rather than descriptions. In today’s job market, simply rehashing job descriptions won’t impress hiring managers. Instead, use bulleted action verbs and phrases to express how you have helped employers. Be specific—use numbers, dollars amounts, percentages, and other quantitative measures to detail your accomplishments. * Edit, cut, condense. In the education section, experienced professionals can simply list their university and degree obtained—coursework, honors, and extracurricular activities are not necessary. Also, consider condensing work experience more than 10 years old into an “early career” section. Delete references to outdated technology. Remember, only give employers what they need, don’t make them sift through useless outdated information. * Start a “kudos” file. Copy and file away all performance reviews, complimentary e-mails, and other congratulatory memos. Keep files of completed assignments, committees you join, accomplishments, and quantifiable results. Tracking your successes will help keep your resume up-to-date.
Finally, after you have revamped and proofed your resume, have someone you trust look it over for grammar, punctuation, and clarity. No matter where you are in your career, keeping a professional, updated resume is critical and can save you valuable time if you need it in a hurry. For more information, read, “Tough Times Series: Steps Before, During Layoff Make It Easier to Cope” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.