I apologize but this is really a trick question because there is no clear cut answer that applies across the board. A lot will depend on your occupation and your career level. This said, merely updating your pervious resume may work for some of you but will be disastrous for others depending on the job you’re now seeking and how long ago you last updated your resume.
For instance a VP / CXO resume will bear little resemblance to say a resume for an entry level or early career stage job seeker. The same holds true for a Project Manager’s resume and that of a plumber or electrician. Finally a resume for a professional in marketing should bear little resemblance to a resume for a professional in a non-creative field. There is different criterion for each person’s resume and knowing what rules apply for your resume is imperative for professional and DIY resume writers.
Another distinguishing factor is if it is being reviewed by someone you already know or if the resume is being screened where you are looked at as a complete unknown. In these scenarios your resume is looked at with a different margin for error.
However I can tell you some things that transcend all resumes so pay careful attention to this when preparing yours.
1: The top of every resume should start out by letting the reader know what specific job or type of job you want to be considered for. If you fail to do this the resume is likely to be given marginal attention.
2: The first section on page one of a resume has to draw the reader in and it must get them excited about what will follow. This can be a done with several devices; a detailed profile, a skill box, references and any combination of these 3 and others. If you don’t do this they will skim through the rest of the document with limited interest.
3: Do not pay overt attention to the length of the resume and try and squeeze in or condense important information based on space and the number of pages alone. A resume must be visually appealing and readable so choose the margins and fonts based on the story and not how it will save you space. Furthermore, leave space between bullet points so they stand out and don’t condense them to save space. Most important, omit superfluous but not crucial information even if it means going back an extra job or beyond the past 10-12 years. The story and the visual appeal trumps all resume myths concerning whether they must be X number of pages in length.
4: For people in creative fields your resume must convey creativity and transcend the old-fashioned and mundane that makes you look average. People in sales related roles need to show a track record with quantifiable results and relevant facts and figures, but also make sure not to cross the line in terms of proprietary information.
5: Every resume must be error free so make sure you have yours proffread by a third party who know what they are doing.
As always I am happy to critique U.S. resumes, LinkedIn pages and job search action plans at no cost. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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