Update Your Resume

When is the last time you updated your resume? If it’s been a while, now is the time to do so as September is Update Your Resume Month.

Some easy ways to update your resume include:

  • Add conferences, workshops and events you have attended. For those who attended the 2011 NFPW conference, include it on your resume.
  • Include awards, honors and certifications.
  • Include speaking engagements.

Don’t forget to consider the format and presenation of your resume. Susan Geary, a quadruple-certified resume writer, who has spoken to Virginia Press Women, recommends listing only one phone number on a resume. “Research surveys reveal the majority of people under the age of 30 only have a cell phone,” she said. “Older people still have landlines. So don’t give away your age bracket by listing two phone numbers. Just list the one you’re most likely to answer and check messages.”

Only use a Word doc to submit your resume. Not Works, WordPerfect, OpenOffice, or a PDF. Don’t use docx. For best
compatibility, save your document in MS Word 1997-2003 version. This way you can be sure the firm can open your resume.

Avoid a Skills Based/Functional Resume whenever possible. “They are out of date and recruiters dislike this style because they
raise suspicion as to ‘what are you hiding?’ ” Susan says.

If you are not working, show you’re currently doing something, as in volunteer work or taking classes.

When was the last time you updated your resume?

Writing a Resume to Land a Job

If you don’t want to land a job, write a resume that’s difficult to read.

According to Susan Geary, that’s the number one mistake job hunters make.

“You have 15 seconds to grab the person’s attention,” she told me during the Virginia Press Women conference April 23. I had sought her out so I could write about resume writing for my blog, but by the time we finished talking, I was ready to rewrite my resume, which I’m going to do as soon as I finish this blog.

Susan, a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers, is one of about 6,000 certified resume writers worldwide.

She also recommends including a testimonial about your work. “That way you aren’t bragging, someone else is doing it for you,” she said.

Most resumes are now printed front and back.

Ironically, Susan said she is good at getting jobs, but she never stayed in them long. A former news journalist, she decided to do what she was good at – resume writing. She didn’t know anything about running a business and quickly learned. Most of her business comes from speaking engagements, her website and referrals. Ninety-nine percent of her work comes from outside Virginia.

The trend in resumes is social networking profiles, such as LinkedIn. Surprisingly this doesn’t hurt, but rather, helps her business.  “You’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to write a LinkedIn profile,” she said.

When it comes to finding a resume writer, she notes that the resume writer will have a credible website with a photo and address. The person will be certified and/or part of a national resume organization.

She warns people to be careful of people claiming to be resume writers who don’t have the necessary credentials. “They say they are going to help you, but they are stealing your information.