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Today’s Resume: What You Need to Know

By Louise Kursmark

If you’re looking for a job in 2012, you still need a resume. Despite online applications, online profiles, and online social networks connecting you to your next opportunity, the resume remains essential.

But that doesn’t mean the resume hasn’t changed with the times. Here’s what you need to know about today’s resume:

  • It’s shorter. Keep it to one or two pages maximum, no matter how much experience you have. Students and new grads most often will have a one-page resume, although two pages is not out of the question if you have that much relevant material.
  • It’s crisper. Think more white space, shorter paragraphs, less density. It needs to be written and designed so that it can be quickly skimmed for pertinent information.
  • It’s well organized, with clearly labeled sections pointing out relevant information. Add to the “skimmability” factor of your resume by segmenting the information into logical sections and labeling each with a heading—Experience and Education sections, of course, but other sections as well—perhaps Technical Skills, International Experiences, Travel and Languages, Core Skills, and others that are pertinent to you and your qualifications.
  • It’s less fluff, more facts. Don’t take up space telling readers how “excellent” your communication skills are or about your “business acumen.” Focus on the things that will help them decide if you are a viable candidate: Who are you? What do you know and what can you do? Where have you been and what have you accomplished? Your personal attributes become important later in the interview process.
  • It might point to richer, more detailed information. If you have a LinkedIn profile (and you should), insert the link at the top of your resume with your other contact information. Similarly, if you have a personal website, an online portfolio, a blog, or other information that expands on who you are for potential employers, by all means, add the links to your resume. Make it easy for employers to find out more—if they want to.
  • It includes one email address and one phone number. Gone are the days when it was standard form to include home, work, and cell numbers on your resume and perhaps two different email addresses. Make it easy for employers to contact you by listing just one number (for most people, a cell number) and one email address. Then be certain to read and listen to all messages and respond promptly when contacted.
  • It is customized to every job application. In many cases, you’ll be submitting your resume in response to online postings. To rise to the top of a crowded field, your resume must include all the right keywords for a particular position, so carefully review and edit your resume as necessary to match as many keywords as you legitimately can. Without the right keywords and keyword phrases, your resume will never be selected.

Yes, your resume is essential! In combination with a targeted job search with networking as a core strategy, your resume is a centerpiece for making your next career move. Make sure yours is current with the times and positions you to beat out the competition.

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