In our “Re: Connection” blog series, we’re revisiting articles from years past to see what has changed and what remains the same. In 2017, we delved into ways to freshen up your resume and now we’re back with updates for 2020. Lola K. Lass, President/Owner of Adeeta Corporate Staffing in New Orleans took a look at some of the most relevant tips from 2017 and offered her opinions for 2020.
Updating your basic contact information is a good place to start with your resume. If you still have a landline and it’s listed on your resume, change it to your cell phone, which accompanies most of us at all times these days. With that said, update your voicemail message to make sure it is professional, business-appropriate and succinct. Also, make sure your voicemail box remains clear so prospective employers can leave a message. Don’t expect them to call back if they cannot get through. “Many people use a separate email when searching for a job,” said Lass. “If you fall into this category, remember to check your email multiple times a day so you can respond quickly to job inquiries. Also, make sure you change your address to something that’s safe and appropriate. No employer is going to take SweetOne@sexymama.com or a gamer-related address seriously.” Finally, when listing jobs, make sure your dates are accurate and don’t list “to present” if you are no longer working for that company. If an employer checks into your status, he or she will discover you are sending out an inaccurate resume. If you have large gaps of unemployment—more than two or three months—and you have a valid reason, such as something health-related or you were taking care of a family member, list this on your resume explaining that you will provide additional details if needed.
Lass stresses the importance of adding your LinkedIn URL to your resume, but to make sure your profile matches. Disparities between the two can be a red flag illustrating your disorganization or that you are not being completely truthful with your job history, neither of which are endearing qualities in a potential employee.
When it comes to listing accomplishments, Lass prefers a one-page resume. “Create a fact-based document with the basics of where you worked, what you’ve done, how long you were there and core responsibilities. Recruiters do not need a detailed list of every job task you performed such as fielding incoming calls, creating Excel documents, etc.” Lass suggests using a cover letter or email to tell your full story. This document is where your personality shines through and you can get more creative, explain your capabilities, be articulate and show off your writing skills. “In the cover letter, you can expand upon your job objective,” she said. “You may say, ‘I’m looking for a new opportunity because my current company is small, and I want the chance to learn new things and develop new skills.’ Your cover letter is a great way to make your best connection with a new employer.” However, Lass warns that the cover letter needs to match your personality and fit the job you’re seeking, whether it’s a formal position such as a financial institution or in health care, or something in a field such as graphic design or IT.
Having new awards is great, but only add those that are notable. It is more important to list any recent professional development, certifications or education you’ve completed, even if it’s webinars relevant to the job that you are pursuing. If you’ve become a certified project manager, taken an OSHA safety course or gotten a new degree since you last updated your resume, you definitely want to highlight those achievements. And if you’re still taking classes and haven’t finished, explain that. It will show a recruiter or hiring manager that you’re serious about developing yourself professionally. “Planning to update your resume can also help you set your goals for next year,” explained Lass. “If you don’t have any new professional development, plan to accomplish something relative to your career. Find a way to highlight an activity that’s keeping you relevant.” Community service, volunteerism or belonging to organizations in the community can show you’re active in more than your work and illustrates leadership. However, stick with those that are industry-related or showcase your professional development. Listing political or religious organizations may remove you from consideration by some employers.
As people’s computer capabilities increase, we have more access to produce unique and creative resumes. However, Lass emphasizes that plain and simple is the safest path—no fancy fonts, shaded squares, or photos. Even if you’re a creative person, strive to keep your resume simple so it flows and the reader can easily follow the information. Also, keep it concise. The rule of thumb suggesting to cover the last 15 years still stands and listing “Additional work history provided upon request” is a safe practice. At some point, your first internship is going to become irrelevant. “A resume is supposed to get their attention and the interview is where you get to sell yourself in person,” said Lass.
While many of these rules are hard and fast, some are meant to be used as guidelines to craft an up-to-date resume that best represents your skills and talents relevant to your career. Best of luck in your 2020 job search and be sure to include Louisiana Job Connection in the mix.
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