By Danielle Tucker, 2017 AgCareers.com Marketing Intern
How long has it been since you’ve used your resume? It could be a few weeks, it could be a few years and a lot has happened in your life between then and now. If you haven’t been consistently updating your resume, you might want to think about a few things before applying to the new job.
1. Contact information
This might be obvious, but there’s a good chance your email has changed and maybe your address as well, especially if you are in college! Make sure that your contact information is updated and you are reachable by the information you give. Be sure to include an appropriate email that you check often. Employers don’t want to see an email that says, “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
2. Your Goal
What are you trying to accomplish? If you have an objective/summary statement and make sure that it fits the job you’re pursuing. This is the often the first thing an employer will see on your resume and if your objective statement doesn’t match the job description they might think you are not a good fit. However, don’t lie; there’s thousands of open doors waiting for you to walk through so go out and find the door that’s right for you.
3. Reread and rewrite
You might not have seen your resume for a while and you could have even forgot what was on there. Reread your resume and rewrite it if there are any new work experiences, activities, etc. If you are invited to an interview and an employer asks you about a previous experience from your resume, hopefully you remember what experience they are referring to! Rereading your resume also helps regenerate your memory to answer any questions that arise during an interview.
4. Time to Prioritize
What job are you applying to and is your experience relevant to the job? What “stuff” do you eliminate? Think of irrelevant information as a distraction. It’s time to make relevant jobs a priority and make sure they stand out. Check to see how relevant the job titles are to the new job. Eliminate experiences or activities that would distract the viewer while updating your resume.
5. Check the Format
You might want to pour out your life’s story, but be concise, highlight your best attributes, and create a clear format that makes sense to a reader. You might have heard that an employer spends on average 6-7 seconds reading your resume which means you don’t want them to miss something because it’s too long or cluttered. You want employers to be able to scan through your resume quickly without missing important information.
Many companies are using resume systems that filter out candidates by searching for keywords. Check the job description requirements and see if any of those words match your resume. For example, if the job is searching for independent workers, include “independent” in your resume under a previous job experience if it is appropriate.
7. Include Numbers
Adding numbers and percentages to your job descriptions can really add value to the work you’ve done. Using numbers adds credibility to your work and can also give a better perspective. For example, saying “I mentored a lot of students” has multiple meanings to different readers. However, saying, “I mentored 135 students” allows the reader to see the real value of your accomplishments.
Your resume reflects who you are to the employer. This isn’t the time to let your resume be flashy, sloppy, or just plain bad. Don’t misspell anything! Let your resume look professional and clean. Don’t get too fancy with fonts or color. A poor appearance could land your resume in the trash!
9. Peer Review
Peer review is something you’ve most likely done in high school, but it comes in handy when it comes to your resume. You might have proof-read your resume a hundred times and still missed a simple spelling mistake or format issue. Have other people look through your resume. Ask them for feedback.
10. Continuously update
Keep updating your resume even after you’ve applied for the job. If you ever apply to another job, this process is easier and you are more confident of your resume. Refresh your resume often because you never know when you’ll need it again.
Updating your resume isn’t the most exciting thing, but think of it as your golden ticket into the door of another opportunity. Follow this check-list and you will have more confidence applying to jobs! Also, be sure to update your resume on your AgCareers.com job seeker account.