Time to dust off that resumé — September is International Update Your Resumé Month.
Designated by Career Directors International and the National Resumé Writers’ Association, Update Your Resumé Month is a great time to fine-tune your resumé, even if you’re not looking for a job.
You should consider updating your resumé if:
• You are a military member about to transition or retire from service — even if you’re still a year out.
• You are a military spouse expecting PCS orders — or simply not content at your current job and wondering what else is out there.
• You are a federal employee looking to advance your career or negotiate a step increase.
Promotion and job opportunities usually come up when people are not as prepared as they’d like to be, and they find themselves scrambling for information to put on their resumés. Unforeseen company changes can happen to anyone. Be prepared with a resumé that clearly demonstrates the value you bring to your company — or a new company.
Let me help you here: If your resumé still has an “Objective” statement at the top, or “References provided upon request” at the bottom, it is past time to update your resumé.
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself as you prepare:
1. Have you had recent positions that do not appear on your resumé? Add in those jobs with titles, dates and three or four accomplishments. Review your entire resumé to make sure all jobs are relevant — it may be time to take off that entry-level job from 1993.
2. Have you increased your social media skills, learned new computer programs or software, become proficient at handling a new piece of equipment or mastered a process? Make a list of new skills you have acquired.
3. Have you been asked to speak or represent your agency, unit or company at an event or conference? Did you create a presentation or briefing? Have you contributed to a company/national/international publication or written an article on an industry-related topic? Were you part of a team that wrote, developed or created something relevant to your field? You may accomplish these tasks and not realize the value they represent to a future employer.
4. Have you attended workshops, webinars, podcasts or conferences where you learned new skills or were taught a new way of doing something? These may involve developing interpersonal skills such as communicating with customers or conflict resolution. Be sure to include the title of the event, the dates and the sponsoring organization.
5. Were you asked to lead a project or team? Highlight your leadership roles to demonstrate increased responsibility. Remember a leadership role can also occur outside of work.
6. Did you get an outstanding evaluation? Add a supervisor’s quote or reference “excellent evaluations” in your resumé.
7. Include any new honors, awards, certificates or licenses. These are important distinctions that set you apart from your competition.
To save time in the future, keep a running list of your accomplishments, training, new skills, projects, certificates and kudos throughout the year. Then you have a master list to consult, so you can update your resumé at a moment’s notice. In the industry, we call this a “brag book.”
Moving forward, take this time not just to review your current resumé for updates, but to take stock of your career decisions and reevaluate your career growth. Some things to consider:
1. Updated resumés are a great tool for discussing a salary increase. If you are like the majority of employees who did not negotiate this during an initial job offer, an updated resumé helps provide “talking points” to discuss future raises.
2. Learn a new skill to add to your resumé in the future. Consider earning a new certificate that enhances a current skill. Even outside interests such as photography, blogging or coaching demonstrate personal development.
3. Consider part-time employment or consulting as a side job if you have a very high level of expertise in your field and do not have a non-compete clause in your contract.
Don’t forget to add all of your newly discovered information to your LinkedIn profile!
Kara Varner is a Certified Professional Resumé Writer and military spouse (Ret.). Varner is owner and CEO of A Platinum Resume and can be reached at aplatinumresume.com. For more career tips, visit aplatinumresume/blog.