E-Resumes: 5 Ways to Update Your Resume in a Digital World
If your job search seems like it’s been going on forever, it may be time to update your resume. No matter how impressive your cover letter may be or how qualified you might think you are, a resume left over from the snail mail era is sure to get you thrown onto the reject pile. So how can you avoid having your resume hold you back from greatness? A few easy steps will update your resume and bring you up to date in the digital age.
1) Change Your Resume Template: There is no excuse for e-mailing out a resume that consists solely of left justified text. It looks boring, and uninventive. Perhaps it’s a good strategy if you’re going for a less creative position, but if you want something dynamic, a resume can be a good place to show that you can be mildly creative, though make sure you don’t go overboard. Need help creating a template? Google has “About 2,590,000” entries for resume template, so you should be able to find one or two to use as a starting point.
2) Different Jobs Call for Different Resumes: Let’s face it, updating and changing your resume for every single position you’d like to apply for is tedious, annoying, and can be a waste of your time if you go in to tweak a word or two in response to each ad you’re applying to. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to tailor your message to fit the audience. ESPECIALLY if you have multiple jobs in different industries. I, for example, have several different resumes that I use depending on what I’m trying to do. When I look for real jobs I don’t think they need to know every web site I’ve ever written for, meanwhile when I’m applying for writing positions, I know that time I spend in high school working in a drug store isn’t exactly relevant to them. By keeping a few different resumes handy, you can be sure to be ready to respond to any ad you see… no matter what it might be.
3) Honesty Is The Best Policy: DO NOT LIE ON YOUR RESUME. Employers can and probably will catch you. Especially if you tell them you’re capable in areas where you’re not. Even if a lie gets you hired, it can get you fired just as quickly. Is it a lie to say you have strong organizational skills when you’re really a slob? Probably, but everyone does it anyway. Is it a lie to say you’re fluent in a computer programming knowledge when you can’t even type? YES, and this is the kind of lie that will probably be caught.
4) Beat the Scoring System: If you’re submitting your resume online, there are a few tricks that can help you get ahead. First off, when submitting through a site like Career Builder, your resume is put through a process called “Ranking and Scoring” in which their software compares your resume to the job posting looking for key words and phrases, and spits out the resume to the HR managers with a score. Can the system be beat? It sure can, and here is how. Looking for a job in marketing? Well, you weren’t “stocking shelves” at the grocery store, you were “marketing items for sale,” and did you think that all you were doing was putting up “sale signs” on items in this week’s circular? Nooo no no, you were actually “performing promotional marketing.” The more certain key words appear, the better you’re resume is going to score. Don’t go overboard, but a few strategically placed buzzwords can get you into consideration.
5) Don’t Forget The Tried and True Rules: Digital Resumes do have a few new rules to consider, but that doesn’t mean you can forget the old ones. Don’t be the person who sends in a resume full of mistakes and misspellings and winds up being mocked for the whole world to see. Read over, spell check, read over again and have someone you know (and trust) look it over before it becomes your new full time resume. Make sure you’re contact information is correct and up to date, only include your college grade point average if it’s over a 3.0 and make sure everything looks professional. I once saw a job application where the applicant gave his reason for leaving his last position as “cut off my toe.” In spite of me begging my boss to interview the guy just to find out what happened, that gentleman never received the interview he was looking for.
Whether you’re a recent grad trying to find your first job, or a victim of the Lehman Brothers fallout, it’s important to have your resume tailored for the digital age. Unemployment has been on the rise and the job market is now more competitive than ever. Don’t waste your time by sending out dated and unattractive resumes, you never know what you might be missing.