4 ways established professionals can improve their résumés

Photo by Metro Service
Job applicants of all ages need to customize their résumés to reflect the preferences of today’s recruiters.

■ Metro Service

Changing jobs can be a difficult decision to make, especially later in one’s career. In many ways, landing a new job is more challenging than ever thanks to the technology-driven society in which people live. Information is shared faster than ever, and applying for jobs isn’t the same as it might have been as recently as a decade ago.
One thing that has evolved is the résumé. Although creating a powerful résumé has always been a challenge, writing–or modifying one—for today’s digital world requires some insider tips.
Adapting a résumé as one ages and has gained experience can be advantageous. A well-crafted résumé is one way for professionals to demonstrate how their skill set is current and adaptable to today’s business climate. The following tips can help improve a résumé when the time comes to move on to a new job.

1. Focus on your accomplishments
Rather than focusing on job responsibilities at each job you held, gear the résumé around what you achieved in each position. This will help identify how you performed in the position, instead of just a general retelling of what you did. It can be challenging to achieve this for jobs that don’t naturally lend themselves to numerically quantitative results (i.e., increased department sales by 15 percent), but it’s still possible to use a résumé to illustrate your achievements.
Rather than state that you were responsible for providing customer service, explain that you built your reputation on conveying difficult technical terms to the layperson, serving as the go-to employee for translating job jargon for outside correspondence.
If you have quantitative proof of how you accomplished something, certainly add it. This can include measures of profit growth, reduction of debt or increase in customer base.

2. Aim for the future
Rather than emphasize what you did, highlight what you plan to do. This means giving greater weight to the expertise that will translate into your new position. Chances are you can find skills that you honed in one or more jobs that translate into credentials that can be used on another. All of the skills mentioned should be relevant to your career objective and not just added to pad the résumé. Therefore, unless your brief stint waiting tables exemplifies how you developed customer service skills, eliminate it.

3. Choose the right keywords
It’s important to optimize a résumé for digital scanning, which has become a major component of the employment sector. This includes using the correct keywords and phrasing so that your résumé will get “flagged.” Take your cue from the job advertisements themselves and mimic the verbiage used. Replace the lingo accordingly, tailoring it to each job you apply for. Also, consult the “about us” area of a prospective employer’s website. This area may offer clues about buzz words for the industry.

4. Set yourself apart
Engage in activities that can improve your marketability. Be sure to list training, coursework, degree, or volunteer efforts that pertain directly to the skills needed for the job to which you’re applying. These additions can tip the scales in your favor over another applicant.

Résumés continue to evolve, and it is crucial for applicants–especially established workers–to familiarize themselves with the changes and market themselves accordingly.

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