Having a “fresh,” updated resume’ is almost always a good idea, especially in our current economic environment.
1) Know your audience – Where are you sending your resume’? What kinds of company (or companies) are you submitting it to? Who is likely to read it? If you’re planning to send a resume’ to more than one company and pursue more than one specific position (which is usually the case for most people), then start thinking now about how each submission will be different. Just having “a resume’” written is typically not sufficient in today’s marketplace. Start thinking now about the uniqueness of each company and each position for which you are applying, and then consider which portions of your background and experience fit the position – and which portions do not.
2) First Things First – One thing you can safely assume about anybody who reads your resume’ is that they’ll probably be pressed for time. In today’s environment, most of us have too much to do, and not enough time in which to do it. So make your resume a quick and easy read. Put your name and contact information right at the top and center. Then beneath your name and contact information, provide a heading with a brief statement of your educational background, and then another heading below this with a statement of your work interests and pursuits. A streamlined and straightforward introduction of who you are, and what you want, will help convince your audience that reading your resume’ all the way through will NOT be a waste of time.
3) Customize! – We all live and work in a culture that is saturated with lots of consumer choices, which means lots of highly customized information and media content. For example, If you like music, you can download your favorites and listen to them whenever I want. Similarly, if you want sports information, you don’t have to wait for the “sports report” in a newscast – you can log-on and get the sports you want, right now.
With all the customized and instantly relevant information that is at our finger tips, our collective “attention span” has become more brief, and we can all have a tendency to ignore information that doesn’t appear to be immediately significant in the moment. And while you can’t know the precise personal preferences of each person who will read your resume’, you can nonetheless make great strides in eliminating annoyances and “tune out” factors by customizing your resume; according to the position and line of work you’re pursuing. You might not need a separate resume’ for each company that you submit to (and there is nothing that says you can’t do that), but at the very least you’ll want to have a separate resume’ for each category of work that you pursue.
For example, if you have a background in car sales and you’re pursuing another position in that field, than you’ll probably want to include some industry-specific information – perhaps some statistics on your participation in special product promotions, company awards you’ve achieved, and so forth. On the other hand, if you’re applying for a position in the world of pharmaceutical sales with a background in car sales, then the auto industry-specific information could be an annoyance. The pharmaceutical company will find your “volume of sales” information to be relevant, but they probably won’t care that you achieved those numbers by being the top quarterly seller in America of the 2010 Lexus IS. Customize your content – and give the reader information that is relevant to them.
4) Avoid “TMI” – It can “kill” a good social situation, and “too much information” can be lethal on a resume’, too. You might think it’s really cool that you’ve been working steadily in your chosen career field since 1981, or that you’ve consistently moved up to better positions, one after another. But your reader might not be interested to know all those details – in a fast-paced and high-pressure marketplace, readers of your resume’ are probably more inclined to be asking “what have you done lately?” rather than “where were you twenty years ago?” Again, try your best to discern what each likely reader might want to see, and then give them what they want and need. And remember that in the “employment history” section of your resume’, there’s nothing wrong with noting that you’re providing a “partial list” of information, and then noting that “more details are available upon request.”
5) Brevity! – Think of your resume’ as a first introduction, and a job interview as a “first date.” When meeting somebody for the first time, you neither want nor need to tell them everything about you. In most cases, you want your resume’ to convey essential information that will get the reader interested enough to schedule an interview, and then, just like a “first date,” you want to make a good first impression so as to get “asked out” again. So limit your resume to no more than two pages of content – so it all fits on each side of one hardcopy page – and keep your remarks brief and concise. If the reader wants more information, they’ll ask for it.