July 19, 2018

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Put That Resume to Work!

In prior columns, I’ve talked a lot about what to say, how to say it, what format to use, where to place key information, things to keep in mind, who should write it and keeping it error-free. The “it” I’m referring to is your resume, of course. Everyone knows that you have to have a resume. But why? What makes this one document so important in your job search? It might help to list some reasons we need a resume – a current resume – and some of the ways we use it.

The obvious use for having a well-written, attractive resume is in a job search. A resume is the one document that puts you out there, in full view of a prospective employer, and enumerates all your wonderful qualities. Unless you have an inside helper at the company who can pave the way and speak on your behalf, the resume has to open that door, make that employer want to call you for an interview. Thus, all the other advice, like “put the good stuff up front,” “be completely honest,” “craft an easy-to-read, easily understood, to-the-point resume,” feeds into a document that beckons a possible new boss to want to talk with you. In most employment circles, professionals agree that a dynamite resume is a must-have in a job search.

Keeping your resume current is also important. Let’s say you get asked to speak to a group at your child’s school, or to address a gathering at your alma mater. Often the first thing you need to produce is a biography, a shortened and edited version of your resume. If you haven’t updated that resume since you joined the company – ten years ago – there’s a lot unaccounted for on your resume. I know it’s easy to forget that resume when you’re happy in your job, and all is good – but remember, layoffs happen, companies merge, and it’s always good to have a resume that’s close to ready. I’ve had more than one client who has needed a resume – fast - to apply for a job. Keeping your resume current is also good practice in listing all the terrific things you’ve accomplished in your current job – a nice ego boost when the world isn’t looking so good, or you’re feeling unappreciated.

Think of a resume as the historian of your career. Like your career, it is not a static entity, it is continually changing, adapting to newer information, shifting format to keep up with current demands, and it should always reflect you. Computer technology makes it very easy to change your resume quickly.

Reviewing your resume periodically also helps in figuring out what jobs you’ve liked, what you’ve liked about them, the skills you’ve enjoyed using, the environments that work for you, and thus can point the way to that dream career. Putting things down in black and white is, I find, a most useful exercise in sorting things out.

So get that resume up and running, keep it current, and use it. Work that resume!

Bettie Biehn, formerly a senior HR professional and nonprofit manager, is founder/president of Career Change Central, LLC, a premier resume writing and career coaching business. Bettie is also a freelance writer, and her magazine articles addressing key HR and training issues, were published for 3 years in NAC Magazine, an award-winning trade journal. Bettie’s coordinates are:

Bettie Biehn, CPRW - President/Owner - Career Change Central LLC - Website named to's "The Top 75 Websites For Your Career"

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