The job seeker’s toolbox is bigger than ever before. Job candidates today use everything from social media profiles to digital bios with graphics and hyperlinks, videos, and even PowerPoint presentations. While higher-tech communications have their place, don’t underestimate the power of more traditional tools. Standard resumes still play a substantial role in many job searches.
Here are five ways to make the most of your resume to complement your overall job search strategy:
Keep your resume as up-to-date as your LinkedIn profile. If you have an active LinkedIn profile that includes your current skills, positions, accomplishments, etc., then the information you need to use to update your resume is already at your fingertips. Use this to quickly outline the experience that relates to the position you are applying for, capturing the important details in 1-2 pages. Above all, make sure that the information on your resume and your LinkedIn profile matches. If there are noticeable differences, it may be a red flag that you lack attention to detail.
Tailor your resume to a particular position.
This means leaving out things that aren’t relevant. Instead of listing every duty at each job you’ve held, only list those that relate to the position you are applying for now. The old rules called for stating an overall career objective. Today, the best bet is to begin with a statement that explains your qualifications for the particular position, with the rest concisely highlighting details that support your summary.
Carefully consider your volunteer activities, interests, and hobbies. Include your extracurricular activities if they reveal qualities that will help distinguish you as a candidate. For example, if you are a marathon runner, this reflects perseverance and dedication (not to mention a healthy lifestyle). If you are an active volunteer, emphasize the organizational, project, or leadership skills you learned from your involvement.
Have reliable references on standby. When you embark on a job hunt, one of the first steps is to line up three or four references. Ask permission to use their name and contact number and make sure you have their current job titles, phone numbers, and email addresses. Choose references that have worked with you professionally on a supervisory basis. The best choices include former employers or secondarily, college professors; never list a friend, parent or co-worker. It’s no longer necessary to include their names on your resume or even to state“References available upon request.” When a decision-maker is interested, they will let you know.
Keep your resume formatted for both print and email. Save your resume as an easy-to-update document as well as a universally easy-to-open pdf file for emailing. And when your well-written resume lands you an interview, bring along multiple printed copies. Don’t assume that everyone interviewing you has it at their fingertips. Be prepared with a nicely formatted list of three top references with you as well.
One last note: Just as the old-school resume still has a place alongside digital communications, so does the hand-written thank-you note following your interview. Email a letter the same day thanking your interviewer for their time and the opportunity to learn more about the company. As soon as possible – that day or the very next – mail a hand-written note expressing your appreciation for the interview opportunity and reiterating your interest in the position. This step alone will set you apart from the pack of other interviewees.
For more of my interview tips, check out my article Business Etiquette: 6 Questions to Ask at a Job Interview on The Huffington Post.