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New Job Search? Time to ‘Tweak’ the Old Resume! NOT!

image Jacqui Poindexter, Owner of Career Trend, a professional Resume Writing service, and friend on Twitter (@ValueIntoWords) posted a ‘Tweet’ today that said: Hiring someone to have your resume 'tweaked' is like hiring to have 3 chapters of a 12-chapter book written; with no real theme, content or meaningful end.”

She’s exactly right. Whether you write your own resume or hire someone to do it for you, ‘updating’ an old one, or ‘tweaking’ an existing one is like inserting updated paragraphs in a 3 year old news story. It doesn’t fit together now and doesn’t seem as relevant. The story has since changed, style expectations have changed, points of emphasis have changed… everything has changed! If you’re looking for a new job and trying to make the best impression, don’t use a patched together old document to put your best professional foot forward!

Since your last job search, your professional assets have probably evolved. The things that were most important to emphasize in your last search are probably not as important now. And things that matter most now, were possibly non-existent then. Most likely you’ve advanced in your career, updated your skills, taken on new levels of responsibility, or focused in a different area altogether. Perhaps the last time you were looking for a job you were a Software Engineer focused on programming. In your last position you advanced into a Project Manager role where your communication skills, organizational ability, and leadership skills became more important than whether you have solid experience in C++ development. So why just add your new skills to your old resume? Someone looking to hire a good Project Manager is not likely to care about the level of C++ experience you have.

Furthermore, take a look at the style of your old resume? Does it have an ‘Objective’ statement? Is it written in a descriptive paragraph style? Are keywords missing for your new target positions? There are a number of style points that may have been effective for you the last time you looked for a job, that may not be now.

Lose the ‘Objective’. It tells what you want, not what they want. Instead include a header with a title or short descriptive phrase of what you do or are looking for (i.e. ‘Marketing Professional’ or ‘Project Manager’).

Make sure your resume is full of keywords that an employer would be searching for the type of job you are looking for now. Not the job you were looking for last time. If you were a Programmer, and now a Project Manager, it’s not as important to list all the programming tools you know. It is far more important to list project methodologies and budget sizes. 

Consider a recruiter or hiring manager, who is looking at your resume among a pile of dozens on their desk or in their email. Will they very quickly see how you are qualified for the open position, or would they have to read your resume in depth to make the connection? In reality, your resume usually has 10 to 20 seconds of exposure for them to connect the dots. If they don’t see an obvious fit, they move on. In 10 to 20 seconds they will not read paragraphs. They will scan to find keywords, titles, and phrases. Are those words and phrases easy to catch in that scan? If not, your resume has to be rewritten accordingly.

Are you modifying your resume for each position you apply to? The resume that highlights your most applicable experience for the ERP Implementation Project Manager role probably won’t do as good of a job for a Web Development Project Manager position. Help them see the fit!

The most important document in your job search is your resume. Don’t ‘update’ or ‘tweak’ the last one you used. Create a new, focused, impactful resume from scratch. It will make a tremendous difference in the response you get!


Thank you for visiting The Wise Job Search. I truly appreciate your interest. If you like the material here and would like to help keep it viable, please peruse and visit book recommendations, and other resources posted throughout the site. Best wishes on your continued search, and feedback is always welcome!

1 comment:

Amanda Collins said...

Fantastic advice! Clients ask me all the time for a quote on "tweaking" a résumé, but that's hard to do because typically the right information isn't there on which to build!

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