Sunday, April 12, 2009


by Angela deFreitas
Now that you have been made redundant, you may have fallen victim to the knee-jerk temptation to send out your old resume - which you perhaps designed ten years ago – in your new search for a job. You will not be well-served by such a strategy. This is a mistake that could well result in your sitting at home for several months without a job. Instead, for each new job search, you should redesign the document in such a way as to focus on and draw attention to new skills, accomplishments and experience gained in recent positions. Re-writing the resume is not just sleight of hand. Your resume (and also cover letter) should be modified to suit each job application, which you make. Re-designing your resume has the effect of refreshing and revitalising the impression you create in the eyes of potential employers. Just as well, if you are seeking a new position, it's in your best interest to blow your own trumpet regarding the new experience, skills and accomplishments gained at the previous job. No-one else will do that for you and this is the only chance you get to add that boost to your resume. Consider also that in this job market there are more takers than jobs so for every job available and/or advertised, there may be literally hundreds of applications. You must therefore find some way of enticing the reader of your resume to want to read further than just the first few lines and also to be excited enough about what is there to then want to invite you in for an interview. Your new resume should be written and presented in such a way that it gets you an interview. if it does so then it has served its main purpose. Review the language of your resume by adding more powerful and active words; to add zing to the presentation and style; to achieve a better visual and literal effect.. Ensure that your experience and special skills jump out at the reader immediately in your new resume. Use a simple technique to highlight these by putting them at the beginning of each new position described in chronological order. You would therefore have: 1. Date and Name of Position 2. Major Skills and accomplishments 3. Plus a general description of what your work entailed on that particular job. Example July 04 - June 08 - Regional Sales Representative, Jamaica Soda Company Ltd Major accomplishments - increased sales by 10% over targeted amount; supervised implementation of new electronic customer data base development Major skills - use of Microsoft Excell END BOX In a complete overhaul or retrofitting of your resume, be prepared to begin from scratch, to dissect the whole thing and re-fit in back together in a more enticing and exciting way. This process should also include self-searching to get to all of the new and relevant information which you may have forgotten such as a leadership position in a school PTA, or in a community or church group. (This is where your career portfolio comes in as you should have in it reminders of these achievements for adding to your resume and cover letter and using in interview situations when the right time comes.) Overhaul the language you are using also - go for power words which have a very descriptive meaning. Remember that there are certain resume formats and styles which are most readily accepted, but that does not mean that you cannot be creative especially if the job you are applying for expects that. However, always let someone else read over your resume - not only for typos - but also to ensure that it hangs together properly and will not have a reader searching for a needle in a haystack to find the all-important information which they seek. *Angela deFreitas is General Manager of Choices Career Advice, Kingston.