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How to Freshen Up Your Resume

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Fall marks the beginning of a new school year, a new season and maybe a new beginning for some. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to get your resume noticed. 

If you’re looking for a new job, your first impression is your resume and if it’s more stale than an open box of corn flakes, it’s going to go in the “retention file”. So, how do you freshen things up?

Don’t mail your resume on fancy paper. Most resume submissions are made online nowadays, so unless it specifically says to mail your resume, it’s best to follow directions. Plus, if you use snail mail, the person doing the hiring may look at your paper resume and think that you’re not keeping up with technology.

Do update your contact information with your name, address and phone number, but also include email and if you have links to a portfolio or websites where you can be found. It’s also a good idea to clean up your social networking sites and double check that you don’t have pictures of you doing keg stands or anything like that. Before you hit send, do click all of the links to make sure that everything works properly and also make sure that your email address isn’t one that’s inappropriate. Don’t use a throwaway account that you never check and do make sure that you check your email often.

Don’t use the same resume for every application. For each job you’re applying for, refresh your summary of qualifications when you’re looking at the job description so it’s important that you do read the description carefully and re-word it. Don’t copy and paste. That’s tacky and they’re going to know. When you are giving a brief career summary, do include your most recent and most relevant experience at the top so when they’re glossing over resumes, they’ll see your experience right away.

Don’t use the “career objective” cliche at the top of your resume. Once upon a time, job seekers were encouraged to spell out what they were hoping for in their career field. Great for the seeker, but the boss doesn’t care. Why? They are looking for someone to help meet their goals, not someone who is trying to figure theirs out. Instead, it’s important that you do write out your objective or mission statement and keep it to yourself. That way you still have it in your mind and can still work toward it.

Don’t include every single job that you’ve had since high school, unless it’s relevant and counts toward your current application. If writing your resume that way means that there are gaps, it’s important that you do explain those gaps so the hiring manager doesn’t think you were in prison or had run off with the circus.

Do toot your own horn. If you have done continuing education, have been recognized for your work or graduated with honors, include that. It will show that you’re intelligent and a hard worker and your resume may float to the top.

Unless it specifically says to, leave the references off your resume but do make sure you include “references available upon request”. It’s also a good idea to contact your references and ask them if it’s OK to use you. It also gives them a heads up so they can think about what they would say about you if you weren’t around.

Again, unless if it specifically says so, don’t include a head shot or photo. Do make sure it all fits on one page, it’s organized and it’s free of spelling errors.

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