USAA Tips: Keep your resume updated before the job search

Content provided courtesy of USAA

By Chad Storlie

Updating your resume over the weekend sounds like scheduling a dentist appointment over the 4th of July. You know it’s necessary, but there are just so many other important things to do . . . like “The A-Team” reruns. Keeping a resume updated is definitely something that you know you need to do, but just not today. Or tomorrow.

Keeping a resume that is updated, concise, in the latest format, and filled with your most important accomplishments is one of the best ways to be constantly prepared, ready, and able to apply to a new career opportunity. Follow these tips to ensure that your resume is a gateway to your success and not a throwback to 2009.

Convert Your Resume To The Latest Resume Format.

Resumes have changed a great deal in just the last 2-3 years. Some resumes have room for a picture. Resumes can link to your social media accounts. Some employers want to know what you do on your free time to evaluate your expected success. Have you listed the social causes that you volunteer for and support? Rarely will the traditional resume of a sea of text, dates, and obscurely worded accomplishments win out today in an exceptionally competitive job market. Today’s resumes need to be fresh, vibrant, clear, simple, and speak to your abilities and accomplishments immediately. Ensure that your resume does all these things and does not exceed two pages.

Create a “Traditional” Resume Of Greater Length.

Most employers have job application software that can translate the text of a resume into an employer’s specific job applications. To prepare for this, once you have your first, visual resume done, prepare a second “traditional” resume with dates, addresses, and a long list of accomplishments for the job application software. This way, you have one resume that is visually appealing for communicating with people and one resume version that can be used for the extensive information in the job application.

Focus on Your Quantified Accomplishments, Not Only Job Responsibilities.

One of the easiest resume improvements is to ensure that all of your resume bullets clearly and succinctly demonstrate, explain, and support what you achieved in all of your previous career positions. No matter the industry or accomplishment, the resume bullet needs to spell out clearly the results of a project, initiative, or marketing campaign. Instead of stating you ran an advertisement, you can state that you, “Conducted 3 focus groups to create 5 versions of an advertising campaign that generated +$20M additional revenue in a six week period – exceeded goal by 15%.” Quantifying and showing your accomplishments demonstrates your ability to adapt and succeed in a new position.

Rank Your Achievements from Greatest To Least Importance By Position

After you quantify your accomplishments, then they should be listed within the resume bullets from greatest to least importance based on your job position historical timeline. Everything you write in a resume wants to respect the reader’s time. Therefore, listing your most important achievements first allows the reader a clear understanding of your main achievements even if they read ONLY the first bullet on each position in your resume. In addition, if you have to drop a resume bullet due to space constraints, then your bullets are already in order to drop the least importance bullet, the last one listed. List your best achievements first.

Make Your LinkedIn Accomplishments and Career Timeline Reflect Your Resume.

Finally, even with a resume, many employers will use your LinkedIn profile as a resume. Your LinkedIn profile must use the same words, verbiage, order, and accomplishments that your resume provides. This way if they use your resume, your company online application, or your LinkedIn profile, each and every source about you will tell the same story.

Be ready when opportunity calls. Keep your resume fresh, updated, focused on accomplishments, and fully aligned with all social media sites like LinkedIn.