Saturday, September 12, 2015

7 DIY Tips To Give Your Resume A Facelift Now

Recently a colleague invited me to speak on a panel and asked for my resume and bio to prepare for the event. I checked a few folders on my hard drive and found one from a few years ago. Just as I was about to "reply all" to the email, I paused to take another look at what I was sending. I knew it had been a moment since I updated my resume, but now as I glanced at the structure, word choices, formatting, and design - I knew I could not send it. Three years ago, this would have sufficed but a lot has changed in three years, especially me. My message is simply this: Your resume is more than your past experiences recorded on paper, it is an extension of who you are and should reflect your brand. 

Most working professionals don't update their resume for one reason or another. Regardless of why, allowing your resume to become stale can be a point of frustration when it is time to give it a refresh. Instead of waiting until you really need it (like what happened to me), make it a habit of glimpsing at your resume once a month or even once a quarter.  Try using different ideas to gradually grow it to something you use not just for a job application, but also as a calling card or conversation starter during networking. The key to giving your resume a facelift is using the latest tips and technology to create appeal and provide accessibility.  

Here are a few suggestions to consider:

1) Give It Presence - Something as simple as adding color to your resume can enliven it and give it a punch to take it from mundane to magnificent. Be tasteful with the color and use it to highlight your name and key section titles. Take the opportunity to refresh certain words or phrases. Include your LinkedIn profile, About Me page, and other social platforms you want to share. Personalize it even more by adding a 1x1 photo of yourself on the first page, keeping it simple and professional.

2) Upgrade The Template - How your resume is organized can make or break your opportunity to get a call back from a recruiter or hiring manager. Use one of these templates from WorkBloom and bring your resume up several levels. In addition to your work experience, make sure to include strategic sections like the summary, skills, key projects, accomplishments or volunteer organizations. 

3) Showcase Your Creativity - Go all out and capture your competencies in a template that highlights your expertise and your energy. Professionals who are graphic artists, web developers, fashion stylists, photographers, and others can really illustrate their brilliance through the design of their resume. Orange Resume is one of a few great sites who have easy templates to make your details stand out.

4) Buy Your Domain Name - Tell people to look you up by your name, e.g. "You can find out more about me at" Invest in yourself literally and purchase your name for your domain. I use mine for my author site but you can use yours for your blog, website, virtual resume, portfolio site or any other project to illustrate your unique brand.

5) Download A Resume App - Smart phones give us so many conveniences, and creating your resume is another benefit on the list. Resume Star is one app that boasts features like resume templates, font selection, PDF output, Dropbox integration, and even the ability to create a cover letter. Being able to update your resume on the go leaves you with no excuse!

6) Use Online Resume Services - Having a virtual resume adds a dimension to your brand that says forward thinker, tech savvy, strategic, and accessible. There are free and premium options based on the look and feel you are targeting. Use an online resume builder like ResumeGig to walk you through creating an effective resume then choose an economical hosting plan like what Namecheap offers. You can choose a simple one page site or build out a complete website all about you. Adding your site to your personal business cards and social media profiles can make it easy for people to find out more about you.

7) Create A Portfolio - Never come to an interview empty handed, and if want to impress the interviewer, then think beyond your resume. Creating a portfolio that not only includes your resume, but also work samples, certifications, published articles, and any other artifact that illustrates your competencies and capabilities. Check out this info graphic that tells you step by step how to make a portfolio. If you decide to make your portfolio available online, make sure the site is optimized for mobile viewing as well.

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Stacey Rivers is a strategic project leader, mom, wife, and the author of the book "50 Essential Tips to Getting & Keeping The 'Right' Job". For more on career management, check out the Career Mom Bluprint Magazine or