September is International Update Your Resume Month. Most careers require a resume as part of consideration for employment but too often people try to write a resume at the last minute. Since a well-done resume takes time and research to create, the last minute is the worst time for jobseekers to make one. Making this month the perfect reminder to get YOUR resume ready for the next unexpected opportunity to pop up. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you craft a resume that work for you rather than against!
Honesty is the best policy
According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 1 in 4 hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds reviewing a resume but 75% of them have still caught a lie while doing so, leading them to not follow up with that candidate. This means that honesty is your best policy when applying for a job. Not only because it can hold you back but because you’re not setting yourself up for future success even if you do get a call back!
Proof(reading) is in the pudding
“You’re not hiring me to write so why does my resume matter?” I hear that all the time from those working more technical roles, like machinists and welders. But, in the era of online applications and telephone interviews, even for the technical trades your resume matters more than ever today. Why? Because a hiring manager sees your resume before they ever see you or your work, making it your best opportunity to put your most (or least) professional foot forward first. Thus, proofing for proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling help subconsciously reflect your strengths like thoroughness, attention to detail, and willingness to take the extra step.
Be specific and detailed
If nobody has told you yet, everyone in a hiring position uses resume-reading programs. If your resume is found on an online platform it’s found because it contained certain keywords that were used as search terms. This means that even the right experience can be missed by hiring managers if it’s not being represented by the words and phrases they’re using to search for candidates. How then does a jobseeker succeed? By using this knowledge to their advantage when writing their resume. For example, if you’re a welder looking to highlight your TIG (GTAW) welding experience a quick Google search will show you that kind of welding is searched for most commonly as ‘TIG’ or ‘GTAW’. Therefore, you should make sure to use both terms within your resume and you should avoid other punctuation marks like hyphens or backslashes. If you do so, more eyeballs will see your resume, and you’ll get more interview requests and job offers as a result.
References: Professional vs Personal
When asked to provide references most of us generally submit the people that know us best because they are the ones most likely to say good things about us. But remember, no matter how good, or true, the things your friends and former coworkers have to say about you are it doesn’t make them a professional reference. A truly professional reference is not just somebody that knows you or someone you’ve work with before. Rather it is somebody you’ve worked FOR (shift leads, supervisors, foremen, trainers, etc.) because those are the kind of references that can speak about you as a technician, person, coworker, AND employee. When you have a reference like that to make sure you have good contact information for them and give them a heads up you’ve used them as a reference. This last part is important. Make sure they reliably respond to outreach, because even the best reference in the world doesn’t do you any good if they don’t answer when called.
I hope these tips encourage you to update your own resume and, hopefully, make doing so a little easier. If you’d like to find other ways to celebrate International Update Your Resume Day, there are many more options on the web. We’ve done blogs on other topics jobseekers might find helpful, interview tips. Check them out on our blog page. And, of course, if you have other resume tips or questions just send them to our Writing Team and we’ll be happy to cover them in a future article.