Refresh Your Resume, Refresh Your Job Search

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The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and unemployment numbers continue to fall to the lowest levels since the recession began. It’s a great time to regroup and let the joy of Spring encourage you to spring forward in your career search as well. Whether you’re looking to return to the workforce, or interested in making a job change, now is a great time to get yourself out there and take advantage of the newfound stability and growth of the job market.  Here are a few tips to renew your job search by crafting your resume to showcase yourself in the best possible light.

In order to refresh your job search, take the time to spruce up your resume.

If you’ve been submitting your resume by the dozens over the past few months, you’re probably sick of looking at it, but if you want employers to take the time to fall in love with you through your resume, you can’t spend enough time on what is essentially a billboard advertising you. Take it one section a day and tweak and update it to make sure you are presenting yourself in the best light possible.

Update Frequently. Ensure that your address and contact information are current and appropriate, update your career objective or headline if your focus has changed, confirm your employment dates, graduation dates, includeall relevant and new professional memberships, responsibilities and more. If you don’t have anything to revise, it may be time to create a resolution to learn a new software program, take on a volunteer role or ask for more responsibility at work.

Word Choice. Proper choice of words, phrases and carefully crafted sentences can make a whole lot of difference when getting your foot in the door. Resumes are often written hastily as the need for a new job arises, and are not the carefully crafted documents they should be. Here is a list of verbs to include in the description of job duties that help illustrate accomplishments and employ an active voice:

  1. contributed
  2. founded
  3. established
  4. consolidated
  5. achieved
  6. invited
  7. introduced
  8. accomplished
  9. exceeded
  10. entrusted
  11. awarded
  12. customized
  13. improved
  14. launched
  15. enhanced

Trim The Fat. Now that you’ve optimized the verbsthat describe your accomplishmentsand updated your skills and tasks, review your entire resume and cut down on excess wording and eliminate resume filler. While it is no longer necessary to hold fast to the one page resume limit, edit to remove irrelevant tasks or overly used buzzwords or too specific industry jargon. Basically, eliminate anything that does not further your candidacy for the specific job you’re targeting.

Proofread and Then Proofread Again. Your last step is to proofread! Read it once, fix mistakes, then read it again. Make sure your document is all one font and spaced well and streamlined. Then, even if you’re sure it is perfect, pass it off to a trusted friend with an eye for spelling and grammar, and get their input. Just one spelling mistake or awkward phrase can negatively influence a hiring manager, no matter how great your skills are.

Taking these steps will make your resume more effective and give you a fresh perspective on your job search. Good luck!

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