Prepare yourself: the first month of 2019 is nearly over. How ya doin’ on those professional resolutions? If you’re like the majority of people, you wrote down a pretty list—and then forgot all about it.
Before you put on the pressure to go from 0 to 100 on your goals for this lap around the sun, career experts suggest to start slow and small by focusing on manageable items you can check off. One no-brainer place to begin is your resume, whether you are job searching or not. Giving this record of your success a second glance—and perhaps a complete makeover—will challenge you to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, as well as see areas you have grown over the years.
Freshening up your resume makes it easier to jump on an opportunity if it comes and allows you to see in black and white how much of a badass you are. Here, the pros give their best advice on the tidying up your resume needs ASAP.
Consider a new template
Since you’re making all of these updates anyway, why not start from scratch and give yourself a makeover? Career transition coach Tiffany Dyba suggests a new aesthetic look to make it stand apart from the others. It also helps to spark your creativity and shift your mindset in a positive way.
“Focus on the types of companies you are applying for. If it is a more creative environment, spring for the more bold template. If you are applying to a bigger, more corporate organization, opt for something a bit more understated,” she continues. “It is also not uncommon to have a few versions of your resume, so when in doubt, make two new templates!”
Update your professional summary
Often at the top of a resume, part of your cover letter or on your LinkedIn profile, this 3 to 4 sentence summary details your core focus, your aspiration and provide a digestible soundbite of who you are as a professional. Career and branding expert Wendi Weiner suggests editing your summary at the start of the year so it resonates with who you are as a professional, and the high-caliber skill sets you have to offer.
“Think of a professional summary as an introduction to the novel about yourself. It should allure the reader and entice him/her with information that will make him/her want to continue on reading about to learn more,” she continues. “Focus on those major skill sets that really sell your value.”
Update your training and professional development
Sure, you have your college degree listed—but what about any courses or training you’ve completed in recent years? Many folks don’t think twice about these additions, since they aren’t part of their core education, especially when they’ve been out of college for years—if not decades.
Weiner says this is a mistake since updating this section of your resume shows your commitment to a lifelong of learning and honing technical skill sets. Even if you’re in progress and not completed, it’s worth the mention.
“If you are registered for a new training or professional development program that will take effect this year, add it to the resume, but put it as ‘expected June 2019’ for example. It will show an intended plan to enroll in the course,” she adds.
Update your experience with results and achievements
“Remember to focus your work experience section on results, major contributions, and key projects you have worked on at various companies/organizations,” Weiner reminds.
This is a huge area where you should see the most transformation in your resume since it details the day-in and day-out work that has made your company and yourself excel. In fact, Weiner goes as far to say it is the number one way to distinguish yourself among the hundreds of applicants applying for jobs.
“Think about the powerful contributions you have made over the last year to your current company and how you have been able to impact the organization’s goals and business objectives in a positive way. Look to your performance evaluation for assistance, and start looking back to emails you received that have praised your work,” she shares.
Ask for LinkedIn endorsement
Though, if you want to get technical, LinkedIn endorsements aren’t part of a traditional resume, they are a major section of your digital profile.
“Keep in mind that your resume is seen by only a hand-selected number of people you send it to, but your LinkedIn profile has the ability to reach millions of users, so you want it to remain powerful and optimized,” Weiner explains.
As the year gets going, reach out to clients and previous employers or peers to endorse you or write a letter of recommendation online, giving you even more gold stars to show off.