Seasons change in life, and much like we move through the seasons of the year, there is a resumé season as well. If you ask experts in the HR department, you’re bound to get a varying responses as to which season of the year is the peak hiring time. Some suggest May, June, or July is a good time to be ready for an interview since companies are trying to get a head start on gaining employees in the springtime and before the end of the year. Though, others would say January or February is the target time since hiring managers often receive brand new budgets at the start of the year and are looking to fill spots left vacant after the holidays.
Regardless of the exact time of year you choose to do so, updating a resumé is important if we want to get ahead, jump into something new, or simply want an upgrade in salary or choices at work. We wouldn’t think of heading into winter, spring, summer, or fall without making adjustments in our wardrobe, car or house. So, why would we think our job search would be any different. Even if the job market looks like companies are freezing job openings, don’t be discouraged. It’s time to move into the springtime of your career, and dust off that resumé.
Start with some spring cleaning, quick fixes
It’s not as overwhelming as it may seem to prepare for job seeking. It starts with some fast and easy changes such as making sure how you look on paper reflects the most up-to-date email address. If you’re really serious about appearing professional in every aspect of your life, you may consider also changing that voicemail message and watching what you post on social media. Following are some additional helpful pointers to bringing your resumé current to impress in today’s job market.
How often should you refresh?
Experts suggest that you keep it current by editing it to add changes every six to twelve months. If you have recently moved or changed contact information like phone number or email, or are learning new skills at a fast rate, be sure that this reflects on your portfolio as well. While you’re at it, replace your physical home address with social media links where your potential employer can easily contact you. Be sure to embed these links for easy one-click access on any electronic document you send. Be aware that this will allow a hiring manager to quickly get a glimpse of the real you in the process. So, be very careful what you post online.
The words on the page will serve as your first impression to a company’s hiring staff. Make yourself stand out by carefully choosing which font to use. This may seem insignificant, but it relays an image in a more impressive way than most people realize. After all, you wouldn’t wear beachwear or summer clothing to a fall formal dance. Likewise, don’t choose a playful font like Comic Sans. Instead, go professional and sleek like Times Roman, Arial, Verdana, or Calibri.
Throw out the heavy winter coats: Objectives are out – Brief summaries are in
Another seemingly insignificant aspect that can add up to a big deal, or even get your resumé tossed without much of a glance, is how it looks. Take a close look at the layout. If you still have a section that is headed with the word, “Objective” it’s time for a change. Replace this section with a brief, 25-word summary that serves as an About Us page telling who you are and what you have to offer based on experience and skills. Use your words carefully in this section, as you want each word to stand out to impress without going on and on to bore or overwhelm the reader.
Use the keys to get your foot in the door
Use keywords in a natural way. What are keywords? These are the description words that are listed in the job description that specify technical knowledge, skills, and abilities that are required for hire in the particular position. Many companies use something called ATS Applicant Tracking Systems to weed through all of the incoming applications. If you don’t include the keywords they are looking for, it may be automatically kicked out before it’s even seen by the Human Resource department. The summary section is a great place to implement keywords.
Step into the current millennium at the proper time
Don’t out date yourself. If your work experience or graduation date is more than ten to 15 years ago, don’t include it. Also, if you are still listing personal information such as marital status, race, how many children you have, it’s time to remove these stats. In today’s working world, including this as part of a decision for hire could come back to haunt the company. In an effort to avoid this potential nightmare, they will probably purge any application that includes too much personal data and not even consider the applicant for fear of backlash later. Save yourself this unnecessary heartbreak by simply removing these personal details now.