If you’re like most job seekers, the thought of sitting down to update your resume can seem pretty darned unpleasant. Anxiety provoking. Full-on dreadful.
You get the drift.
Part of the reason it feels like this is that you probably assume it’s going to take tons of blood, sweat and tears to ensure that it’s not only current, but aligned directly to the types of roles you hope to land next.
This process is so overwhelming for many that, when it comes time to fluff up their credentials, they do an about face and instead head for the mall, the movies or out for a drink.
But, what if I told you that you can make some substantial strides toward improving your resume in just five minutes? Sure, sure, it’s give-or-take, depending on how fast your fingers type and how focused you are.
But here are a few very quick five-minute updates that’ll get you more than started:
1. Get Rid Of Cliches
Yes, I understand. You truly are a detail-oriented, out-of-the-box thinker who is responsible for a lot of stuff.
But right there, you’ve got three horrendously overused cliches mucking up your resume – in one sentence. (And don’t even get going on your proven track record.)
Recruiters see these words and phrases so often – every single day–that they start to mean absolutely nothing to them. Seriously.
While keywords are certainly important (and, we’ll cover these in a sec), I assure you that no decision makers are entering “detail-oriented” into the search box in an effort to find you.
Your first step is looking at the doc and highlighting anything you know is a cliché, suspect is a cliché or see that you’ve used too many times. Now, hop on over to Power Thesaurus – a wonderful, crowd-sourced tool built primarily by writers–and enter in the words you’ve selected (one at a time).
Voila. Alternatives at your fingertips.
2. Pull Out The Crowning Moments For Each Job
This is among the most common issues I see – someone does a bang-up job of highlighting the duties and responsibilities she holds, but falls on her face when it comes to calling out the specific things she feels particularly proud of.
Certainly, recruiters need to understand what you did, when and where. However, the thing that’s going to clinch it for you is evidence of your directly-relevant successes.
When working with clients, I typically break each job into two sections: first, I provide a brief overview of what the job seeker was hired, promoted or recruited to do and a quick summary of what the job entails.
Next, I create a subsection, called “Key Accomplishments” or “Select Highlights,” and list a few quick bullet points of key wins or stuff the person’s particularly proud of (especially “stuff” that’s related to the type of role you are gunning for).