How To Write A Great Resume

Highlight your strengths and trim the fat

Young writer

Wondering how to write a great resume that will show off your skills and experience and get you interviews? Here's a beginner's guide to how to craft a resume that will catch a hiring manager's eyes.

Your resume should be composed of the following sections:

Contact info. This is pretty straightforward – this is the header for your resume, and it's where your name, address, phone number, and email address go. It's fine to add a link your LinkedIn profile or your website if you want to, but don't clutter this section up to much.

Profile or highlights. This section is optional, but profiles or highlight sections have replaced objectives at the top of modern-day resumes. This is a quick list of the highlights of your strengths and accomplishments, summing up in just a few bullet points who you are as a candidate and what you have to offer. The idea is to provide an overall framing for your candidacy, setting the hiring manager up to see the rest of your resume through that lens.

Experience: This is the meat of your resume. You should list each job (from most recent to least recent) – where you worked, what your title was, and the years you worked there. Underneath that, you should have a bulleted list of what you achieved while working there. And this is crucial: These bullets should not be used to just explain your job duties. Instead, you should focus on accomplishments – things you achieved that weren't simply fulfilling the basis duties of your job. For instance, instead of "managed website," it's far stronger to say something like, "increased Web traffic by 15% in six months" – in other words, explain how you performed, not just what your job was.

When you're deciding what to include, give yourself permission to remove things that don't strengthen your candidacy. You don't need three lines explaining boring, basic job duties – especially if these responsibilities are going to be implied by your title. Similarly, you don't need to include that summer job from eight years ago, or that job you did for three weeks that didn't work out. Your resume is a marketing document, not a comprehensive listing of everything about you, so include the things that strengthen your candidacy, and pare down the rest.

Education: For most people, this section should just be a line or two, explaining where you went to school and what degree you graduated with. And note that generally your education should go beneath your work experience, because generally employers are most interested in what work experience you've had. Leading with your education just buries what will make most attractive to an employer.

Optional other sections: After that, you might include some additional optional sections, like Volunteer Work (or Community Involvement), Skills (if not obvious from the experience section), or Miscellaneous. Fleshing out your skills and experience in these sections can demonstrate a passion for the work that your work experience can't always do. For instance, if you're applying for an I.T. position and you run an online software discussion group in your spare time, mention that. Or if you're applying for a teaching job and you review children's books for your website, that's important to mention too. These types of details help paint a stronger picture of you as a candidate.

Things not to include: Your resume is for experience and accomplishments only. It's not the place for subjective traits, like "great leadership skills" or "creative innovator." Smart employers ignore anything subjective that applicant write about themselves because so many people's self-assessments are wildly inaccurate, so your resume should stick to objective facts. Additional no-no's: Don't include a photo of yourself, information about your age, any mention of high school, medical conditions, or family members.

Overall formatting: In all of the sections above, you should be using bullet points, not complete sentences. Hiring managers will only skim your resume initially, and big blocks of text are difficult to skim. An employer will absorb more information about you with a quick skim if your information is arranged in bullet points rather than paragraphs.

Length: As a general rule, your resume shouldn't be over two pages (or one, if you're a recent grad). The longer your resume is, the less likely an employer is to see the parts you want them to see. The initial scan of your resume is about 20 seconds - do you want that divided among three pages, or do you want it focused on the most important things you want to convey? Short and concise means that employers are more likely to read the parts you most care about. Plus, long resumes can make you come across as someone who can't edit and doesn't know what information is essential and what's less important.

Design: Avoid unusual colors or untraditional designs. All most hiring managers want from a resume: a concise, easy-to-scan list of what you've accomplished, organized chronologically by position, plus any particularly notable skills, all presented in a format that they can quickly scan and get the highlights.

Résumé Tip No. 2: Focus on your skills


Once you really get your information organized and know what job you’re applying for, working on your résumé can be fun. Well, maybe we’re the only ones that think that, but it’s true that design and formatting can be a little more engaging than trying to creatively say that you answer emails in a timely fashion.
But beware the common problem that designers and job seekers frequently run into: Too much of a good thing. It might seem like giving your résumé a 150 pt. font header of your name or adding a background image of your LinkedIn headshot is a way to stand apart from the competition, but the distinction you risk making is that your skills can’t stand on their own, or that you lack professional taste.
Either way, employers aren’t interested.
To see what a redesigned résumé looks like without qualifying as a design disaster, check out this before-and-after infographic. As you’ll see, the best résumés have a good balance of white space and text, use easy-to-read fonts and are as classic and clean as possible.

Also remember that your résumé can be submitted to employers in a variety of formats, and that not every format will get delivered in the same layout you send it in. To avoid the embarrassment of sending a garbled document, create and save your résumé in several formats, including PDF, word document and text document.

Build Self-Confidence with Resume Addendum

A resume tool to differentiate yourself in the job market

By Rhona Bronson

Hundred dollars on fishing hook

In today's job market, job hunters need to appeal to as many hiring managers and recruiters as possible. The challenge in throwing a wide net is maintaining quality over quantity while also creating differentiation for a specific industry. My technique was the Resume Addendum.

I first created an addendum as a working document to build self-confidence and pride by reminding myself of my own relevant experiences long forgotten in industries outside of my key areas of expertise. When I started my search, there were not many jobs in my niche. Since not working was not an option, I had to borrow advice from fishing experts and learn how to prove appealing to the fish biting in other industries.

Find the Fish

One of the first rules of fishing is to fish where the fish are. During the early weeks of my job search, several jobs were posted by health associations. I had initial training in health care, and my first job was in a health care consulting company. Since that time, however, my career experiences were in anything but health care. In applying for health-related association jobs, what could I say that would position me as qualified?

It's hard to apply for any job if you lack self-confidence. I started a "Health Highlights" document one day to see for myself if I had enough experience to consider applying for health-related marketing posts at any level. The worksheet was not pretty, nor formatted, but once completed, it gave me confidence that I had something to offer.

I then attempted to revise my resume to be more health specific. But, an odd thing happened. My resume tinkering weakened my resume. Changes highlighted less important experiences, took too much time to write, and didn't present well. Precious time I wanted to devote to finding jobs was now being spent in altering a resume that was already strong. At that point, I made the decision to keep my resume intact and tinker instead with the highlights document to see if it could serve as a stand-alone document. It couldn't. But, with some formatting changes, it was a decent Addendum.

Test the Waters

I started formatting the document to match my resume much as I would an accompanying cover letter. I added color, changed fonts, and paid attention to presentation. Within a short time I had a document that I retitled my Resume Addendum.

It was a calculated risk when as I sent out my first application with three elements – a cover letter, resume, and my new addendum. When the first call came in for a phone interview, I thought the technique had merit. When a second call came for an interview with an entirely different company, I knew I had something of value.

No Two Addendums Are Alike

Unlike resumes, addendums have no set format. My addendum was text heavy and matched the look and feel of my resume, but instead of listing accomplishments, it highlighted clients and expertise. For instance, my stint as an entrepreneur at Plaza Communications appeared on the addendum (with clients edited for privacy here) as follows:

In contrast, my bulleted resume listed projects completed with results detailed in numbers and percentages.

If I were a designer, an addendum could be a sheet of thumbnail graphics projects. If I were a writer, an addendum might display headlines and lead lines of published articles. Some people have added Infographics. Every field is different and job applications should be as well. But if your resume isn't telling enough of your unique story, consider how you might use an addendum to tell more of unique story to your own advantage.

INFOGRAPHIC: How to craft a cover letter worth reading

By Justin Thompson,

The cover letter. Perhaps the most controversial job-search document. Well, if not the most controversial, then it's at least the one that annoys people the most. "What should I put in it?" "Do I really need to include this?" "Will anyone actually read this?" "What's the point if I'm including my résumé?"
I always recommend including a cover letter, especially if the job is related to communications, marketing or any profession that relies on you being well-spoken and having exceptional writing abilities.
Similar to the résumé infographic we created to show you the before and after, here is an infographic on cover letters and how to make one that is eye-catching to a hiring manager.

Can You Ever Lie On Your Resume And Get Away With It?

4 whoppers to avoid if you want to get the job and keep it

By Miriam Salpeter

Job interview

"Seeking liars; apply within." An unlikely headline for any job. While some employers may be lazy and fail to confirm credentials before hiring certain applicants, people who embellish their qualifications or lie about them are always at risk for losing their positions -- even after having worked in the job for years.

Case in point, recent news reports indicate that Steve Masiello's coaching career has gone into limbo because the University of South Florida (USF) decided to verify his credentials before extending a formal offer to recruit him away from his current position at Manhattan College. Clearly, based on his bio posted on his current employer's website, he was representing himself as having a bachelor's degree. A background check uncovered the lie; he never graduated. Now, he stands to lose the offer to join USF he is on leave from his current job as a result. One lie could result in two lost jobs.

If you don't want to be looking over your shoulder or hoping no one in HR gets suspicious and decides to audit their files, avoid these whoppers on your resume:

Lies About Past Employers

Do not lie about where you worked, even if you think it sounds impressive to pad your resume with big-name employers. It's very easy to verify employment, even via a quick review of LinkedIn contacts and an email or two.

Lies of Omission

If you think failing to mention key points will keep you out of trouble, think again. "You never actually asked me if I graduated with a degree" will not serve as a good excuse if you're approached about lying about your academic credentials that may be listed in an ambiguous manner on your resume. Leaving dates off your resume and failing to disclose other details is not wise.

As illustrated in Masiello's case, these lies can come back to bite you, even after you've been in a job. In fact, there was a case of a dean at MIT who resigned her post after working there for 28 years when the university audited its files and learned she did not have degrees from the three schools listed on her initial resume.


Plan to leave a job off your resume because you were only there for a short time? Keep in mind, there is a lot of scrutiny on new hires, and if a company conducts a background check, you'll need to be prepared to explain why you didn't want anyone to know you worked in that company. You don't want to raise any red flags or spook employers who might wonder what else they don't know about you before they hire you.

Little Embellishments

You've likely read about how personal branding is an important part of marketing yourself for a job, but you may have incorrectly assumed boosting your qualifications was part of growing your brand. Avoid embellishing your titles, your mentors or your skills and accomplishments on your resume and you're much more likely to land in a job that's the right fit for you. Avoid this big job search mistake to find - and keep - your next job.

The best (and worst) words to have on your résumé

By Tony Valdivieso

Do you consider yourself a hard worker? A real go-getter? Someone who likes to think outside of the box? Then you’re just the type of person who needs to review their résumé ASAP.
A recent CareerBuilder survey found there are some words hiring managers and human resources pros just don’t want to see on your résumé. And if you’ve called yourself a go-to person, a team player or a strategic thinker, you’ll need to make a few changes before you send your résumé to anyone else.

The deal-breakers
Unless you want to end up on an employer’s “Do not call” list, think twice before you put any of these empty words on your résumé — they won’t accomplish as much as you might hope.
  1.  Best of breed: 38 percent
  2.  Go-getter: 27 percent
  3.  Think outside of the box: 26 percent
  4.  Synergy: 22 percent
  5.  Go-to person: 22 percent
  6.  Thought leadership: 16 percent
  7.  Value add: 16 percent
  8.  Results-driven: 16 percent
  9.  Team player: 15 percent
  10.  Bottom-line: 14 percent
  11.  Hard worker: 13 percent
  12.  Strategic thinker: 12 percent
  13.  Dynamic: 12 percent
  14.  Self-motivated: 12 percent
  15.  Detail-oriented: 11 percent
  16.  Proactively: 11 percent
  17.  Track record: 10 percent
You don’t have much time
Given the amount of time your résumé has to make an impression, it should come as no surprise that your choice of words can be exactly the reason you aren’t brought in for an interview. In fact, if you get more than a couple minutes of attention, you should consider yourself lucky.
Sixty-eight percent of hiring managers and human resources pros will spend two minutes or less reviewing each résumé they receive; 17 percent will actually spend 30 seconds or less.
“Hiring managers prefer strong action words that can be used to define specific experience, skills and accomplishments,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative, because they don’t convey real information. For instance, don’t say you are ‘results-driven;’ show the employer your actual results.”

The words they actually want to see
If you felt like you really had something when you called yourself “hard-working,” there’s a lot of room for improvement. (Besides, that’s something almost everyone would say.) Employers don’t simply want to know what you think about yourself; they want to see results. If you really are a hard worker, prove it by backing up that claim with some data.
Rather than focusing on your previous duties to capture your relevant experience, focus on what you’ve been able to achieve using your relevant skills. The following terms — mostly verbs — should help you refocus your résumé on what truly matters. As an added bonus, hiring managers would love to see these terms:
  1.  Achieved: 52 percent
  2.  Improved: 48 percent
  3.  Trained/mentored: 47 percent
  4.  Managed: 44 percent
  5.  Created: 43 percent
  6.  Resolved: 40 percent
  7.  Volunteered: 35 percent
  8.  Influenced: 29 percent
  9.  Increased/decreased: 28 percent
  10.  Ideas: 27 percent
  11.  Negotiated: 25 percent
  12.  Launched: 24 percent
  13.  Revenue/profits: 23 percent
  14.  Under budget: 16 percent
  15.  Won: 13 percent
The bottom line: You can’t afford to make a bad first impression, and you don’t have a lot of time to make a good first impression. With some hiring managers, you’ll have 30 seconds to make your case, and the numbers say you probably won’t make it past two minutes.
Highlight your accomplishments and sell just how important your skills have been. If you’ve received honors or awards, make sure to find room for them. Focus on what you think will cause hiring managers to stop and take a second look at your name — you can likely find more unique things to say about yourself than “I’m a hard worker.”

The Weekly Roundup: 5 Steps to a Killer Resume

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Five experts show you how to craft the perfect calling card

​How do you boil your career down into one or two concise, compelling pages? How can you craft the perfect resume? This is possibly the most confounding and tricky piece of the job search. HR or the hiring manager will likely judge your resume in seconds. Get it right and you may wind up on the top of the stack. Get it wrong and you will get nowhere. The truth is there is no definitive blueprint for the perfect resume, but there are a lot of great resume building strategies that will optimize your skills, experience and accomplishments. Let's look to the experts for insights on how to build, update and troubleshoot your resume:

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How to Write a Standout Resume and Land Your Next Marketing Job

Hubspot takes a marketer's approach to building a killer resume. If you're thinking, "I'm not a marketer," please hold that thought and read on. We are ALL marketers these days and let the inbound experts guide you in how to market YOU! They've got five tips to help you write the resume and a bonus link to ten stellar templates.

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45 Quick Changes That Help Your Resume Get Noticed

No time for a complete resume overhaul, but that CV is looking dusty and tired? If you've got 2 minutes, maybe 5 or even 10-15, The Daily Muse has a ton of speedy updates and touch-ups grouped by the amount of time you have. A little tweak here or a bit of extra polish here could be the quick fix your resume needs.

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Resume Tip Tuesday: When is it OK to Include Short Stints?

You came, you worked, you left...quickly. How do you showcase brief, but valuable experience at jobs that didn't last long? Yep, it can be tricky and a possible red flag for hiring managers. Career Bliss talks to HR pros and outlines the safest route through these potentially treacherous waters.

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Major Resume Myths

One page? Two pages? Do I need an objective statement? Everybody is an expert and has an opinion about resumes. Guess what? They are often dead wrong. Doostang debunks the myths and offers simple, straightforward advice on some resume basics. It's all blocking and tackling, folks.

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Optimizing Your Resume With Keywords

Let's finish off with a little science from our friends at Careerealism. If you are applying online for jobs, chances are a computer will scan your resume first. Find out how to run circles around applicant tracking systems and move one step closer to your next gig with the power of KEYWORDS.

Let's hope these tips and ideas helped buff your resume to a nice recruiter-friendly sheen. Let me know about YOUR favorite resume building strategies and tools in comments. A job seeker's resume is never done. However, this week is over and the weekend begins now. Good luck on the job hunt and see you next week.

This Resume Tool Got Me a Job in 5 Months

The resume addendum works well if your job history is long

Let's shake on it!
Getty Images/Vetta
Any job posted on online boards today gets hundreds of resumes submitted. The quantity received by HR recruiters is so overwhelming that jobs are frequently taken down within hours. With so many resumes hitting a recruiter's desk, how can you differentiate your application, particularly when your experience is unconventional?

Although it's recommended to tailor your resume to the job, with only hours to spare, it's not always time-efficient to rewrite a resume. To respond in a timely fashion to unique opportunities I created a new technique - the Resume Addendum.

Why I Needed an Addendum
In my job search, I was attracted to posts in industries where my skills were applicable but my most recent industry affiliations were not. I had been a marketing director for many years, but in the latter years my resume was heavily weighted in the media. Since my resume had been tailored to highlight just the last 15 years of my career, much of my original experience and training in alternative industries such as health care were no longer obvious.

The first key difference was in the opening of each document. My resume started with my contact info and a summary of my senior-level marketing experiences. In stark contrast, the addendum started with an aggregated total of specific industry experiences, and showcased relevant education certifications and conferences that were not in my resume.

Although my masters' degree was on my resume, it was at the bottom well after more timely professional experience, and it did not mention the health certification. The degree on my resume served to qualify me for positions that required advanced degrees, but the certification was not relevant. On the addendum, the certification was critical to show industry-specific training.

Addendums versus Resumes
Other contrasts between the two documents included:
  • The Resume had dates. The Addendum did not.
  • The Resume had no health care references and some association experience. The Addendum only had health and association references.
  • A Resume can be longer than one page. An Addendum is one page.
In general, my resume showcased my most recent and digitally engaging marketing accomplishments. In contrast, my addendum highlighted older training and experience relevant for the targeted industry.

For instance, in my job at the Press of Atlantic City my resume highlighted my digital revenue projects, audience growth initiatives in social media, and events management. The addendum detailed the health care clients and projects that fell within my larger job responsibilities.

Resume Example:

Addendum Example:

After the intro shown in the resume example, my detailed Press experience fills a full half page of a two-page resume. The Press experience on the addendum is limited to exactly what's shown above, but only discusses health-oriented experiences.

Resumes Rule
The Addendum never replaces a resume. It is, as titled, an addition to the resume to provide pertinent information. In my case I had two addendums. One was specifically for association jobs in any field from construction to engineering. The second combined health care and association experiences and was sent to associations such as the American Heart Association and National Celiac Foundation, both of which resulted in interviews.

The addendum serves one other purpose. With dozens of resumes that essentially look alike, the Addendum can catch a recruiter's eye just because it is different. It's a case of adding a page to catch attention. A Resume Addendum is not for everyone, but for several job postings it worked to get me an initial interview, and it may work for you. 

Résumés: What’s in and what’s out in 2014

On “Project Runway,” Heidi Klum often declares, “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out.” While she’s referring to fashion, the cyclical nature of trends extends to résumés and job-search tactics as well. And if your résumé style is out in 2014, you may well be out, too.

To make sure you’re keeping up with the trends and away from major résumé disasters, check out what’s in and what’s out in 2014.

IN: Keywords that match job descriptions
Many employers use applicant tracking systems to screen résumés and generate a short list of candidates. To ensure that your résumé makes it through the ATS, try “greater research into the position and employer to identify a higher percentage of the employer’s keywords associated with specific positions, then creatively embed them in the application and résumé,” says Hank Boyer, president and CEO of Boyer Management Group and author of the “Job Search Readiness Assessment.”

OUT: Listing your daily tasks as experience
Instead of using valuable space to tell employers about your basic responsibilities at previous jobs, use the section they’re most likely to pay attention to for impressive feats and stand-out accomplishments. Boyer advises including “quantified, employer-focused accomplishments listed in bullet point under each work experience. For example, ‘With team of 12 telemarketers, achieved 131 percent of productivity objectives, with a customer positive rating of 98.2 percent.’”

IN: Creating and using multiple drafts and formats
Just as no two jobs are the same, no two résumés should be the same. Boyer suggests creating multiple drafts and formats for different roles, to make it through different application mediums and screening tools. “[Create] multiple résumés, customized for each position, in both .txt and .doc formats to allow for use in online applications and ATS’s (.txt), and for traditional printed copies and PDF emailing (.doc).”

OUT: Including an objective statement
“Replace the outdated ‘objective statement’ and include a summary of your qualifications at the top of your résumé,” says Carri Nebens, executive hiring manager and owner of Equis Staffing. “This swap offers a more personal look at you and what you could bring to the job. This should be three to five sentences long and should be tailored specifically for the job you are applying for. Be straight to the point, and market yourself as the ideal person for the job. Be compelling and concise, using this section to paint a picture of your characteristics, experience and achievements.”

IN: Pointing employers to your online presence
While you only get so much room on an application or résumé, there’s likely much more you’d like to share with prospective employers. The best way to do this? “Include your LinkedIn URL,” Nebens says. “First, if you haven’t already, you should create a LinkedIn profile, as LinkedIn profile URLs are becoming standard to put on your résumé. A LinkedIn profile will allow prospective employers the opportunity to learn more about your skills and better assess your qualifications. Make sure to fully develop your profile prior to listing your URL and align your résumé’s goal with your profile, so both are telling the same story.”

OUT: “References available upon request”
Similar to the objective statement, including references or “references available upon request” is a waste of valuable résumé real estate and just repeats the obvious. Ellis Chase, president of EJ Chase Consulting Inc. and author of “In Search of the Fun-Forever Job: Career Strategies that Work,” recommends omitting the standard references line. “‘References available upon request’ was great in 1955. Not so much now. What are you going to say — ‘References not available upon request’? Lose it.” Instead, expand other sections that need the space. Chase suggests creating an “Additional relevant information” section, where you can list your skills, languages and technologies that are immediately relevant to the desired targets.

Get Your Resume Out There The Right Way

Don't start sending a resume out until it's ready

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By Alex Freund

People in transition or those who contemplate making a job change should not start dispersing their résumés all over the place before those résumés are up to snuff. I know that people in transition are very eager to get back in the game, to restore their (temporarily) lost identity, and to restart the flow of income, but the biggest mistake they make at this point is to start blasting weak credentials. Once your résumé hits cyberspace, you never know where it's going to end up. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that before you post a résumé, it be a solid and strong one.

Next, the question is where to post it? Generally there are three types of job boards: 
  • The big and popular job boards such as, Monster, and are musts. While there may be overlaps among them, you never know which one is used by which recruiter or which potential employer.
  • Those in the six-figure-income range can also post their résumés on such job search sites as, which is still free. They can also possibly try for at least one month certain others such as and ExecuNet, which charge a small fee. The value of these sites is hotly debated among their users. Some job seekers were greatly helped by them, while others considered it a waste.
  • There are several other, specialized sites such as, Biospace, and HigherEdJobs, which should be used as appropriate.

A question I'm being frequently asked is how many job boards to use. My answer is that five to eight are suitable. Posting on job boards is laborious when setting them up for the first time. After doing so, it's important to visit the sites daily -- yes, daily -- and make a small change such as adding or deleting a line and then saving the change. Doing that makes your résumé appear to be fresh. Recruiters have many fresh résumés to choose from, so why should they bother looking at older ones whose owners may have already found employment elsewhere?

The push and the pull

Now that you've pushed your résumé out into cyberspace, you should pull in openings that have been posted. Several job search sites do that for you. They're known by the term aggregators. is one of the most popular ones, and there are others such as JobCircle and Simply Hired.

The aggregators are very user-friendly, and as a job seeker, you should set up a number of job alerts, as they are called, to reach your in-box daily. In fact, you should have several of them based on different keywords you've used and the distance from your ZIP code that you're willing to commute to a job. The disadvantage of these types of sites is that there will be many duplicates. It takes a few trials and errors before hitting it right.

Good hunting!    

7 Reasons To Update Your Resume Even If You're Not Looking

You never know when you'll be looking for a job next

By Brazen Life By Jo Casey  
Work is going well, and you have a job you enjoy with great benefits. You feel like you have a future at this company. You have no intention of moving on anytime soon. You're in a good place professionally, so you may never need to think about revisiting your boring old resume ever again!

Woman biting pen looking at laptop
Unfortunately, that's a myth. In fact, everyone should review their resume and and keep it up-to-date no matter where they are in their career.

If you haven't revisited your resume for awhile, read on for seven reasons why you should polish it this very moment: 

1. Remind yourself of your skills and achievements

A resume isn't just a list of job titles and how long you've worked at various jobs. It's a record of your body of work.

Your resume contains info about what you've learned, the skills you've developed and the differences you've made in your career. Having a clear sense of your journey will help you make smart short-term and long-term plans for your career.

2. Give yourself a confidence boost

When you're in the thick of day-to-day work, it's easy to forget how far you've come and in which areas you've developed. By revisiting your accomplishments periodically, you'll better be able to track your own professional progress and make sure the important ones make it to your resume.

If you update your resume just every few years or only when you're looking for a job, you might completely forget about new skills because you mastered them so long ago. By keeping your resume up-to-date, you can see how you've grown even from a few months ago.

3. Understand yourself better

One of the keys to happiness, impact and career development is understanding yourself. Your resume is the blueprint not only of your skills and achievements, but also of your preferences, passions and values. Every role you've ever had has been a reflection of who you are.

You can learn from the jobs you loved, the ones you hated and those that were just a bit "blah."

Dig deep. Did you thrive in a particular type of environment? Did you enjoy working in teams or independently? Did you thrive working for innovative fast-changing organizations or those that valued evolution and heritage?

Analyze what lit you up and has worked along your career path, as well as what hasn't worked. Use the information you learn about yourself to tailor your own work towards your preferences.

4. Reflect on your key lessons and identify development areas

Your key achievements happened for a reason. And so did your mistakes. Have a look at your resume and think about which events have been great teachers. What did you learn? How have you moved forward with those learnings? What could you do to develop even further?

5. Develop a clearer idea of your strengths

Research has shown that the more you work to your strengths, skills and passions, the happier and more productive you are. In other words, it's not doing great work that brings you happiness, but feeling happy that helps you do great work.

So, how have you worked toward your strengths in the past? How can you do it more in the future? How can you consciously use those strengths more often and in new ways?

6. See the thread that binds your body of work together

Resumes give you a high-level view of your career. Patterns start to emerge that can give you new insights into your career and where you might want to head in the future. Ask yourself what thought processes led to you make those career choices. Would you do anything differently?

7. Prepare yourself for the worst

The world of work has changed beyond recognition over the past 20 years. It's a sad fact, but you never knowa when your resume might come in handy. Having one that's up-to-date will help you hit the ground running if you ever do need to look for alternative work.

If you have an updated resume you can send out quickly, you'll recover more quickly after a layoff and have less to stress about. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.

Revisiting your resume can feel like a pain in the butt. It takes time and requires that you reflect on your career journey. But it doesn't have to be so painful. The more frequently you update your resume, the less work it really is. Plus, revisiting your accomplishments will help you develop confidence and clearer direction in your career.

Update these 5 items on your résumé

By Debra Auerbach, 

Everything needs updating every once and awhile. After having the same haircut for a few years, it's always fun to change it up a bit. When a new season arrives, it's a good excuse to clean out the closet and update your wardrobe.
When it comes to your résumé, it's smart to periodically revisit and refresh it, even if you aren't looking for a new job at that moment. Having a current résumé will come in handy should you find yourself in a position where you need or want a new job right away.
No need to panic that your résumé needs a total overhaul. There are a few basic items that you can update easily. Here are five:

1. Contact information
This might seem like an obvious one, but if you haven't touched your résumé in a while, you may still have your old address or cellphone number on there. Also, check to see which email address you've included; you want the email address on your résumé to be as professionally sounding as possible. If your email address is still, it's time to create a new one. Consider [first name].[last name] instead.

2. Objective statement
Your objective statement may be up-to-date, well thought out and well written. The problem? You have an objective statement in the first place. Objective statements are outdated and are being replaced by professional summaries or summaries of qualifications. The difference between the two is that objective statements talk about what you want in a job; professional summaries recap your job-seeker "brand" and explain why you're the right fit for the position in question. Since this is usually the first thing hiring managers will read on your résumé, you want to make sure it grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more about your skills and qualifications.

3. Skills/areas of expertise section
The skills or areas of expertise section is usually where you list out in bullets everything you're proficient at; so anything from a certain Web design program you've mastered to your negotiating skills. Take a look at your list to make sure you can still confidently say you excel at all those skills, and see if there are any new skills you've acquired that you'd like to add. Also think about the "So what?" for each skill listed; if you can't answer or speak in depth about your expertise, don't include it. Something else to consider? Removing this section all together and incorporating your skills into the professional summary/summary of qualifications section.

4. Education
You may be proud of your 3.9 GPA or that you graduated with honors. And if you're entry level, you should include such achievements, along with relevant coursework, on your résumé. However, if you're an experienced job seeker, it's no longer necessary to mention your GPA or go into specifics about what classes you took as an undergrad. Instead, keep this section simple, listing the college you went to and its location, the degree(s) you graduated with and years attended.

Of course, if you recently went back to school to obtain a post-graduate degree or certification, that information should be included, especially if it shows how you have gained skills that will help you succeed at the job for which you're applying.

5. Formatting
With the limited amount of space that you have to include your entire work and education history, it can be tempting to use a ton of different font sizes, bullets and section breaks to break up the content and keep it organized. If your résumé looks like an eye sore, it's time for a formatting refresh. Sleek and simple is the name of the game -- use easy-to-read fonts and clean formatting. You can use all caps or a different font color to emphasize section headers, but keep it consistent and stick with basic colors such as blue.

Sure, change is never easy, but with a few simple updates to your résumé, you'll be in good shape to tackle a new job search -- whether that's a few days, months or years down the road.

Best Of: Resume And Cover Letter Crafting

Your first impression depends on these two

Remember the first time you wrote a cover letter? It was eloquent and poignant, detailing all the things an employer drools over in a job candidate. Once you completed your masterpiece, you packaged it with your equally exceptional resume and flung it out into the ether, sparking an epic, gruesome war between ten of the top companies in your desired field over a chance to employ you, the most coveted worker in all the land.

This has probably never actually happened to you (or anyone), because job hunting is a learned skill that many find arduous to master. And today, the job seeker has become loaded with more responsibilities, like constant networking, social media upkeep and outsmarting resume-scanning robots.

But there's one thing that hasn't changed about the application process and it won't give you nostalgia: the resume-cover letter combo. Check out AOL Jobs' roundup of the best resume and cover letter advice below.


Tighten up your resume with these dos and don'ts.

You may be responsible, creative and effective – but so is the rest of the job-seeking world. Keep these words off your resume to avoid blending in with the job pool.

Almost every major midsize company uses an applicant tracking system to sift through the large volume of resumes they receive.

It's no secret that many employers are screening their candidates' social media profiles before making a final decision. Rather than looking like you've got something to hide, you can open up parts of your Facebook as a supplement to your application.

Getting a job in a field you've never worked in is tough. If you're pursuing a second or third career, you can still show a prospective employer that you have the chops to take on the challenge by being honest and playing up your strengths.

Employment gaps are red flags to hiring managers. Whatever your reason is for having one, you must address it on your resume. The employer will either toss it aside, as he or she likely would if it remained unexplained, or the honesty will give you a fighting chance.

Cover Letters

The short answer is no. Most companies still require one, and even if they don't explicitly ask for it, look at it as your only chance distinguish yourself from another equally qualified candidate.

The cover letter is a chance to add some personality and discuss your interest in the company, but it should always remain professional.

The video below is part of a video blog series Nika Harper does on writing. If you've tried many conventional cover letter writing guides without good results, I encourage you to hear out Harper's thoughts, as it's some of the most current and creative help on writing cover letters that I've come across. It's sound advice, even if the occasional gamer lingo flies right over your head.