Your New Year's Resume Checkup
Like millions of people coast to coast, you may have resolved to start 2004 with renewed job-search enthusiasm. If it has been a while since you brushed up your old resume, you’ll want to begin your job search with a New Year’s resume check up.
These five questions will help you focus your resume for even better results in the new year.
- Has your career objective changed since your last job search?
More specifically, are you attempting to change your industry or profession? If so, your resume requires a new marketing message based on your transferable skills. This will help potential employers see you outside of the context of your current industry or profession.
Remember, a resume is more than just an historical document; it is the print ad of your job-search campaign. For peak effectiveness, your resume should be based on the buying motives of your new target audience. Communicating your transferable skills is an excellent way to tap into employer buying motives.
- Does your current resume reflect your professional growth—or are still using the same resume format that got you your first job out of college? As you grow professionally, you’ll need a resume that reflects your level of professionalism. The more sophisticated "hybrid" format allows you to showcase your best accomplishments based on the strategic "selling points" of your career.
- Does your resume feature accomplishments from top to bottom?
The best way to capture employer's attention and create a strong first impression is with measurable accomplishments. Accomplishments are most significant when they demonstrate your contribution to an employer's bottom line. If your resume focuses more on what you did than on how well you did it, it's time to rewrite those "features" into "benefits."
- Was your last job search prior to 2001?
That may seem like an odd question, but if this is your first entrance into the job market since before 2001, you're in for a shock. The job market of the late '90s was fantastically in favor of job seekers; resumes were less important in attracting employer attention. Today's job market, however, is fiercely competitive, and a polished, professional resume is critical to winning an employer's notice. If your last job search was a "walk in the park," look objectively at your resume. Does it have what it takes to compete against an avalanche of candidate responses or will it likely get lost at the bottom of the resume pile?
- Most important—are you getting responses from your resume?
Here's the real proof. Your resume has only one job: to get you interviews. If that isn't happening, don't just blame the job market—improve your message. Think of your job search as a professional marketing campaign in a saturated market. The tougher the competition, the more vitally important it is to have a resume with a strong marketing message that sets you above the crowd.
Deborah Walker, CCMC, Resume Writer, Career Coach, For more in-depth information on resumes, job-search strategy and interview skills, check out the article archive at my website: www.AlphaAdvantage.com 
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