Vicki Voisin, ACP
September is ‘International Update Your Resume Month.’ This initiative is spearheaded by Career Directors International to promote the importance of having your resume updated at all times.
Why is this so important? You should always be prepared to submit your resume at the drop of a hat. If you’re not, you’ll be rushing to update and submit the resume and you may end up with a sub-par document.
Keep this quote in mind as you think about your resume: “It pays to plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark!” ~Unknown
Planning and preparation are always important. Here are additional circumstances you should consider:
- Your current job responsibilities have changed, you have new training and skills, you’ve recently completed a degree program or obtained a certification from a professional association
- You’re happy with your job and have no intentions of leaving. Out of the blue a recruiter comes calling with a terrific opportunity but your resume needs to be submitted NOW. Would you be able to do that?
- It’s time for your annual performance review and you intend to ask for a raise. Is your resume updated to demonstrate your value to the firm?
- You haven’t looked at your resume in forever
Resumes don’t just jump out of a hat. It takes time, effort and good organizational skills to gather information, choose format, write good content and to draft the perfect cover letter. If you don’t have a powerful resume to work with in the first place, you’ll be in big trouble if you need that resume by tomorrow morning.
What steps should you take to update your resume? Working from your last update, note of all of your accomplishments. Do be specific:
Did you work on a special project? Were you instrumental in initiating a new system that improves productivity? Have you surpassed goals? Have you gone above and beyond? Did you learn any new skills? Be brief while including as much detail as possible.
List all continuing education events you attended. Did you train in any new practice area? Did you obtain a certification? Did you finish your education?
Is your personal information current? Have you changed your name? Have you moved, changed your telephone number or email address? Incorrect personal information means no one will be able to find you for that important interview
Consider your format very carefully. Many standard formats found on the Internet will not work because they turn into gobbledy gook when uploaded to a future employer’s electronic system. Also you need to carefully place the information regarding your skills and employment history so that there is not too much white space. It is critical that the reviewer’s eye be drawn to your content, not to blank space.
The content is also critical. Resume reviewers will not take the time to read a long diatribe. Your content must be clear and concise. It must also be presented in a way that it can be easily read. If everything is lumped together in one paragraph, your resume will end up in the circular file. If at all possible, your resume should be only one page in length.
Your Challenge: Begin updating your resume today using the tips above. In the future, use your computer as your ‘resume diary’ where you keep careful notes of everything you do. There’s no doubt that this is work, but once your update is completed and if you keep your ‘resume diary’ updated it will be simple to bring your resume current it on a moment’s notice. It will, in fact, take care of itself.
©2010 Vicki Voisin, Inc.
Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com.