You need a killer competition-crushing resume/CV to help you get that interview for whatever reason. It may be your first job out of school, just needing a career change, desiring to advance your career at your current employer, or wanting to make the big jump to a new employer. Wanting a change is good. Even if you aren’t really looking for a new job right now, you should update your resume at least once a year. We’ve written a few other articles already on this topic so where possible I’ll be brief here and link over to those more in-depth articles.
Be sure to also join the Out:Careers group here on OutBüro where all things career development is discussed, networking, sharing and engaging. Jump in there and ask questions. Post great stuff you find around the internet. Most importantly on OutBüro network with others. Friend/Connect, join several group and really start to engage. Be proactive. 80% of all jobs are filled through networks. Your activity, connections, and thoughtful engagement will make others notice you. Looking to apply at a particular company. You may find employees of that company right here and/or in our OutBüro on LinkedIn group.
OK, now to the meat of it.
Never Created a Resume or Haven’t Updated Mine in a Long Time
Ok. There may be a bit of work ahead of you, but hopefully, after reading over this and our other guides the feeling of panic and dread will be diminished and just viewed as a task to get accomplished.
Tip 1 – Add it to Your Calendar
As mentioned above until you retire your resume should be visited and likely updated at a minimum once a year. So, literally, right now pause reading this and open up your calendar of choice. 12 months from now, schedule at least one day devoted to updating your resume/CV.
Tip 2 – The No Stress Approach
Before starting to worry about resume design, layout, colors, and all that jazz, just start with a notepad, electronic notes on your phone or tablet, or even sticky notes to begin jotting important key information down that will allow you to organize your thoughts without the confines of that other stuff. Then when ready, all will be right in front of you and you’ll churn that fresh resume/CV out in no time at all.
Try this, I solve so many problems, have really super focused memory, and come up with innovative thoughts and solutions when I get away from my laptop and keyboard. I take long walks – usually an hour and a half a day. I do mindful meditation. But, it’s not just me sitting with my legs crossed with fingers in a certain posture while chanting some ancient hymn. I use both the walking and mindful meditation time interchangeably to go inside myself and think. To explore as many options as possible. To allow my thoughts full freedom. I always have my phone with a notes app handy and/or post-it notes or notepads handy. When great ideas strike me I pause and jot it down. Because in this state of thought freedom, 15-30 mintues later, unless I really lingered on the thought in depth, it will be gone. I won’t remember. Jotting it down allows me to know I captured the thought to revisit it without fear of lossing it. I then can, delve further into it or let it now go and move on to something else returning to it once I’m back at my desk or another day.
This is great for everything you do. TRY IT. Where your resume/CV is concerned if updating it after some time, it may be hard to follow the below advice with the pressure of the computer screen and keyboard taunting you. The restrictions of the interface, the pressure to get that resume done so you can find a new job all can stifle your creative conscience and unconscious that you’ll need to see your past career and goals in an abstract connected pattern. Using my approach will allow you to be focused yet free to ponder, associate, and be creative to when ready create the best resume/CV you can that will amaze recruiters and burn up that resume sifting AI engine.
Tip 3 – Keep it Fresh
When creating your resume/CV or updating it, you want to consider style trends looking for things like fonts, font sizes, hot industry skills popping up on job descriptions, be aware of AI (artificial intelligence) and its impact on choosing your resume for more attention by a human. We’ll have an article about this soon and when that is complete this will be updated with a link. But right now you can search the internet for articles on AI and Resume tips, biases, and more to be in the know.
Consider having your resume reviewed by a professional. I would highly recommend you do your best job on your own first. There are tons of resume templates available for free on the internet if you search “free resume template”. I state this because it’s much quicker and if paying, cheaper, to have your resume reviewed and improved than to have one created from scratch with is more time consuming thus if not free costs quite a bit more.
Tip 4 – Up Your Game
When you are looking at the jobs and skills that are in demand today. Are you finding that your skills, training, and certifications are relevant or maybe starting to become a bit dated? Hey, this can happen if someone works for the same employer in the same role for some time. It seems like stability. But if that employer isn’t keeping up with industry and technology trends and therefore not offering you the ability to be constantly learning, growing, and advancing your skills. In technology in particular. It is not uncommon to see moves every 18-24 months when a person is very focused on growth and their employer is not.
Tip 5 – Plan and Concour
So, take a hard honest assessment and if you need to bring your skills up to date to be competitive, or you have a career goal and need certain skills and certifications to qualify, make a plan. That plan should include what in-person or online courses you are going to take. What books you are going to read. What organizations and professional associations you are going to join. Decide if you’d like a mentor (more on that below). As you are gaining newly learned skills, if your current employer has no opportunity to put it into practice, consider how that new skill might be leveraged at local, regional, or national non-profits. Consider donating your time and skills to help the non-profit with your talents. In return, you get to put practical experience about that new skill/talent on your shiny new/updated resume/CV.
Tip 6 – Job Duties – No kidding
When crafting or updating your resume/CV remove everything that sounds like you are describing your general job function duties. It is a complete waste of space. If that sort of resume gets past the resume AI sorters, I can guarantee most recruiters will look at it and think to themselves, “No kidding”. Then toss it aside. Don’t do that. I talk with recruiters at all levels all the time. I’ve interviewed several for our episodes.
If you were an executive assistant, you don’t need to write that you answered the phone, made copies, wrote letters, created spreadsheets, and ordered delivery lunches. Serious DUH factor! Every executive assistant does that.
Check out the Say “Bye Bye Felicia” to Duties on Your Resume article for more details.
Tip 7 – WOW Factor
You know how much effort you now or use to put into looking good, standing out, to go out on a Friday or Saturday night? Bring it that level and more of WOW factor to your resume/CV.
I’m certainly not suggesting it be outlined in eyeliner and covered with glitter. But from Tip 2 above you need to put down all the amazing stuff. What did you do that was out of the ordinary? What did you improve? What is better now than when you took started the job? Was it your idea? Did you totally orchestrate that cool, fabulous new thing or improvement? Did you manage others in the process? Did it require sourcing, selecting, contracting, and managing vendors that may have been outside your normal job description? If you’ve never looked at your resume like this, the first time getting it to this format will take a bit of time. That’s why Tip 1 had you plan to keep it up to date at least once a year so that all that amazing stuff you accomplish in the previous year will be a bit fresher in your mind.
Tip 8 – ALL About Measurement
8 is good, but maybe I should have made this Tip 9. All joking aside, whe you are spelling out the 2-5 bullet points for the amazing Tip 7 improvement, enhancements, reductions. savings, gains, acquisitions, whatever those items are for you, provide NUMBERS. See the examples below:
Bad Example: “As a software license manager I managed all software vendors and associated contracts efficiently.
Great Example: “I initiated a software vendor assessment program that was never done before at this company. After my analysis I found overlaping solutions and was able to negiation consolidated licensing at a discount saving the compay $183,000 a year, reduced vendors from 3 to one simplifying relationship management and creating consistancy amoungst our users. After traning, this has improved the company Help Desks ability to support users in a timely manager reducing similar trouble tickes by 60%.”
The great example although a tad long has all the component. Job initiative, creative, take charge, wihout out saying it. Problem finder and more importantly a solution oriented, cost savings, support savings and quantified by numbers. This is someone I’d want to talk to. This is someone most recruiters would want to talk to. Your projects and results will differ, but you need to state:
- What you achieved and accomplished?
- What was your role – did you initiated it, your idea, or your boss’s idea but you led it?
- What was improved, enhanced, saved, etc?
- Show numbers even if it is an approximate guess. The numbers show impact and scale.
Tip 9 – Be Concise
Because employers may be receiving hundreds of resumes for one potential position, you need to catch their attention immediately. There is no effective way to list everything you have done. Choose what is most important, use phrases instead of full sentences, and implement bullet points to emphasize achievements. When you feel like you may be repeating yourself, check out use the thesaurus and think of new ways to phrase tasks and responsibilities.
Tip 10 – Lock that it Down – Clean it Up
Hey, we love social networking and hope you’re a member here at OutBüro. You better believe that potential employers are going to temporarily stalk you online as much as possible. They will try to find you on Facebook – ya know all those pics of you in your underwear hanging on other near-naked guys looking all glassy-eyed with a disco ball glimmering in the background. And pic after pic of similar images. Yep. You need to LOCK your accounts on ALL social media to “friends” only and be very very careful about adding any new friend requests for the foreseeable future. Employers will often have junior young cute guys and gals request friends/connections to potential candidates. In reality, they are just doing research scoping you out. They’ll take screenshots of all those party boy/gal images, you sporting the leather harness and jockstraps you gifted yourself this past X-mas, those jockstrap and thong images, you laying in bed with those two other people, that image of you laying in bed posing where you seemed like you confused Facebook for Grindr or Scruff (like so many of you do). They take all that, screenprint, electronically file, print, and stuff in a folder and report back their findings to the recruiter if not also the hiring manager. And guess what. If the example is the case, the likelihood of you being offered the new job is pretty slim.
So. I recommend LOCKING your accounts AND cleaning up your images and posts as much as possible. You be the judge on what stays and what’s removed, but really does anyone care what you posted 18 months ago? DELETE. Keep posts of you and your pets, what you ate for dinner, you hugging your grandmother. But DELETE any potential less than office safe images. DELETE old post where you went on a political rant. Absolutely DELETE any negative comments you made about past employers, hating to go go to work, hating your job, etc. For images and other posts that are similar but posted by others and you are TAGGED in. UNTAG yourself.
Basically, DELETE as much as possible keeping only OFFICE SAFE non-sexualized, non-political, non-super pro or anti-religious. Do you get what I’m saying here?
For more great related info, check out the LGBTQ Online Privacy and Safety – Take Control article.
Tip 11 – Should you be OUT on your Resume/CV
This is important and I’ve already written a full article exactly on this topic and got a former HR director of Disney’s thoughts. So check out the Should You be OUT as LGBTQ on Your Resume/CV article with interview video/podcast.
Tip 12 – Keep Your it Organized
Keep all of your past job information in a folder, hard copy, or electronic copy with a job description, notes of projects you initiated or contributed to. Measurement and pretty much all the information you’ll need to update your resume and to have for references should you ever need it. This might also have copies of all your pay stubs, employee guides, and any other documents related to your employment. Maybe that’s one file per employer with everything or structure it how you find useful. Along with employer files, be sure to maintain college, training, and certification records too.
Tip 13 – 60 MORE Awesome Resume/CV Tips
For even more resume/CV tips, check out the 60 Awesome Resume-CV Tips for the Queer Professional article. All the content there is still relevant.