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Three Resume Resolutions for 2021

Of all the things we can say about 2020, one thing is for certain: The nature of work changed fundamentally due to a highly contagious, microscopic virus. Even if you didn’t get sick from it, the coronavirus affected you personally. Perhaps your job ended because of pandemic-related layoffs. Maybe you kept your job, but have been teleworking from your spare bedroom or dining room table since mid-March. Or it could be, you’re still reporting to your workplace, sporting a variety of PPE. (If so, thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping things moving – your work is vital, and I appreciate you!)

2021 will be the year of the vaccine, and I’m betting we’ll see additional changes to the nature of work. Regardless, there are still jobs that need doing and candidates looking to get hired. With this in mind, I propose three resolutions for anyone who cares about their career:

RESOLVED: I will update my resume. Yes, even if you don’t expect to be looking for a new job. Because sometimes, your job comes to a sudden end. Other times, great opportunities find their way to your inbox when you aren’t actively looking. In either case, you need to be ready to respond promptly. While you’re updating, focus on your most recent 10-15 years of work, and cull down or combine anything older than that. Two pages, max, with some white space. Your resume should not be an itemized list of every single job you’ve ever held. It should paint a comprehensive picture of your expertise, accomplishments, and total professional offering.

RESOLVED: My newly-updated resume will be error-free. No typos, no grammatical errors, no wonky spacing issues. When a hiring manager screens a stack of resumes, they’re looking for a reason to reduce the size of the pile. Sure, they might forgive the first typo, but if they see another, or a misused apostrophe, or something else that doesn’t seem right, they’ll slide your resume over to the “no thanks” stack. Don’t give them a reason to do that. Have someone proofread your resume, then ask someone else to look at it, too.

RESOLVED: I will resist the urge to Word Salad. I’m sorry to tell you, but in your attempts to seem “business-y”, you actually sound the opposite of that. Carefully choose every word; make them all count. Unless there’s a term or an acronym that’s specific to your industry, don’t use business buzzwords. They’re hackneyed and off-putting. There’s always a better, more concise way to say it.

That should be enough to get you thinking about your career goals for the coming year. If you want to talk more about any of these, I am here for you! Leave me a comment and let’s chat. And, if you’re ready to get serious about your resume in 2021, I can help!

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