Resume Resurrection; Is it Possible to Bring it Back to Life?

If you have come to this page thinking you are about to discover a new age religion that was lost and found within the depths of the deep Amazon jungle—I’m sorry, you may have to move on to another genre!

This post is genuinely about resumes and how you can dust the cobwebs of your existing template and bring it back to life—resurrect them as part of an ongoing career plan. That is, I’m assuming you can remember where you keep your resume? Is it in a forgotten file path on your PC or dusting away in the confines of a cabinet drawer with other unrelated documents?

So why should you bother? Have you not got enough to think about already? And now the author wants you to develop a career plan amongst all other things? Let me bring this tragedy of the resurrected resume to an end and encourage you to at least consider the benefits of keeping your you profile document up to date.

I have been resurrecting my resume for many years in a way that is less time-consuming than you think. I will explain how to go about it. The best time to resurrect your resume is when you are on leave from work and usually during the Christmas break. You are relaxed and not in constant demand from work and other activities. Suddenly you have some time up your sleeve to ponder about your future. Yes, it’s New Year, and everyone becomes retrospective about what they did and what they want to be doing better. Your brain is fertile ground for reviewing your resume with the future in mind—because you are in the zone, and heaven forbid, you may even be creative and adventurous.

Find your old resume document, wherever it is and print out a hardcopy—grab your favourite drink and look at it for a while. It’s probably out of date and does not have your current achievements listed. Be critical about it—is it a true reflection of your projection and profile? If you were a recruiter in your field, would you give this person a job?

So, what is an achievement? It can be defined as;

The act of achieving or performing; and obtaining by exertion; successful performance; accomplishment

It’s important to note at this stage that achievement must be measurable, and it must be an achievement from a business perspective, not just a personal one. Anything that is an expectation of the role, the workplace in general or was an extra-curricular activity not associated with the function should not be included.
Here are some excellent examples of how they can be written expertly into your resume;
  • Led corporate team in driving cost-reduction initiatives that resulted in $XXX million saved over three years through capital infusion and process automation.
  • Managed Windows 2000/2003 upgrade of 2000 servers to specific Company security standards.
  • Improved the accuracy of budget forecasts.
  • Established good working relationships with customers/clients.
  • Developed and implemented a client service program, which expanded small-to-medium client base Y%.
  • Established new quality standards for better quality performance and reliability.
  • Improve support service level by Y%.
Here are some examples of what would be considered a personal achievement and should not be used on your resume:
  • Well presented and punctual.
  • Successfully upskilled in X, Y and Z systems.
  • Volunteered as a course attendant for the City to Surf Fun Run.

While any or all of these may be considered an achievement, they don’t highlight to a hiring manager or recruiter how you deliver excellence and improvement to the business directly. And let’s face it, that’s what they want to read.

Spend no more than an hour and pencil in your changes. We all must set objectives at work every year and then measure your performance against them during the performance review process. This is where you will find your new achievements for your resume. You only need 2-3 significant objectives that can demonstrate how you contributed to solving company problems each year. So, you don’t even have to think about developing new achievements for your resume—they already exist in your job and all you need to do to paste them into your resume. So, the job is done, and it only took around an hour of your time.

So, you are still sceptical and need more convincing? Let me offer some words of wisdom, which is about as close as you will get to a new age religion from me today. Expect the unexpected in life, one day during your career, either yourself or your boss will decide that you need to part ways. It may not happen today or next year, or not for the next five years, but being prepared with your career plan will grow your confidence during this challenging time—because you are in a state of preparedness rather than panic-stricken and anxious.

And how can we not be prepared for ambitious recruitment consultants that headhunt candidates for a living? Maybe you will be approached one day, and I can assure you that the first thing they will ask you for is an updated resume; because they need to move quickly on your candidature. Again, it’s about your state of preparedness.

So, go for it, and resurrect your resume.

Anthony Ranieri
Author — How to Find a Job in 6 Weeks

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