New Year, New Resume

Posted December 11, 2013 by Denise DeGennaro in Career Moves
When is the last time you refreshed your resume? If you’re in the midst of the job search, you (hopefully) have obsessed over the quality of your resume and have ensured everything is up to date. If you’re happy in your current position, chances are you may have neglected it.

Career Girls, you never know when you’ll need a resume – an awesome opportunity can come along at any time. Being prepared with an updated and well-written resume (not something you slapped together at the last second) will help to quell the stress of chasing opportunities as they come. The end of the year is the perfect time to engage in reflection! It is inevitable that the new year leads you to think about the year that went by and how you got to where you are. If you structure this natural thought process, you can use it to update your resume and position yourself well for seizing opportunities in 2014. Here’s how! 

  1. Focus on your professional achievements: Put reflection on your personal life to the side, and think about what happened at work.
  2. Write (or type) it out: This part shouldn’t be formal – just get onto paper whatever comes to mind when you think about your professional self over the past year. Don’t forget to save the document if you chose to type it! Some questions to prompt your thinking: Did you role change? Did you implement a new idea/program/initiative? What problem did you solve? Did you take on added responsibilities? What took up the bulk of your time at work? Have you joined a professional organization, club, done community service? Try to be specific and use numbers to quantify your impact whenever possible.
  3. Revisit your existing resume: Before you start the process of updating your resume, read over the old version to see what you’ve already included. Is your current position listed on your resume, or did you neglect to add it? Take inventory to see how much room you have for addition based on your reflection.
  4. Highlight the positives: Look at what you’ve written and pick out what you are most proud of. Based on what you already have on your resume and what came of your reflection, pick and choose points you want to make sure you highlight.
  5. Bite Write the bullet: Refine your already-written reflections to make them resume-worthy. Using varied action verbs and industry keywords can really strengthen your bullet points. Remember to be specific and show your achievements, don’t just reiterate your job description.
  6. Proofread!: It’s pretty tough to convince a company (or anyone, for that matter) that you pay strong attention to detail when you have a resume riddled with typos. This has happened to me and it was embarrassing! Save yourself the trouble and proofread your work (sometimes reading it aloud helps catch mistakes), and have a trusted friend or family member read it over for you. 

Even if you aren’t job searching, updating your resume is so important.  By being proactive about updating, you don’t have to dig in the depths of your brain to remember what you did. I guarantee your thought and writing process be so much clearer and easier when you aren’t stressed and frazzled. New year, refreshed resume, ready for new opportunities!

About the Author

Denise DeGennaro

Denise DeGennaro is a student affairs professional who helps undergrad and graduate students (and sometimes friends and family) at all stages in their transitions from school to career. She is an expert resume and cover letter writer and reviewer. Denise received her Master's in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Outside of work, Denise enjoys all things girly and loves testing out the latest beauty and nail art trends.