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Spring Career Cleaning

March brings the first bits of spring: flowers start blooming, the winter chill in the air has lessened, and Daylight Savings Time brings longer days to spend in the sunshine. While these changes might inspire you to finally clean out that closet or try your hand at gardening, it can also be a great time to spruce up your resume and pivot your career options.

Whether you’re applying within the company you already work for, switching careers, or taking your business to the next level, a strong resume can set you apart from the competition. Below, we’ll discuss some easy steps to update your resume that will put you closer to your dream position in less time than it took to clean out that closet:

1. Update your resume header. A strong header will, well… get you ahead! Make sure it includes your name (first and last), phone number, professional email and LinkedIn profile, as well as any other social media that is relevant to the job you’re hoping to land. Make sure that the header is visually appealing, and that all information is current and easy to read. You

Pro Tip: You don’t need to include your full address. Your city and state are usually more than enough!

2. Start with a strong objective or summary. If you are new to a career or have recently switched careers, start your resume with a resume objective. This short, 2-3 sentence paragraph will outline your career goals and 2-3 of your best skills, highlighting how you are a perfect fit for the job. If you have several years of work experience, focus on a 3-5 sentence long resume summary, which describes your qualifications, skills, achievements, and experience. Both objectives and summaries have the same main goal: to convince a potential employer to read your resume.

3. Use resume keywords. Often, before HR or a hiring manager ever sees your resume, it’s put through an Applicant Tracking System, which does an analysis of submitted resumes based on keywords from the applications. Use the job advertisement as your guide to keywords, and make sure to sprinkle in appropriate industry jargon. If you’re new to your field, a simple Google search of industry keywords will ensure yours is one of the applications moved forward by the Applicant Tracking System.

4. Tailor your resume to the job. The days of sending the same resume to all the jobs you’re applying to are over. Competition is stiff, and hiring managers won’t look twice at what they deem a generic resume. Use the job advertisement to find out what the hirers are looking for, and highlight the skills and experience that match. Clear and concise is always best, so if a job experience or skill doesn’t match what the ad is looking for, cut it.

5. Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! This simple step may be the most important, yet is often overlooked. Use your word processor’s built-in spell checker, and try websites like Grammarly, ProWriterAid, or WhiteSmoke to double check your grammar and word choices. If you have a willing friend or family member, have them read through the document as well. Ask them to not only fix any grammar or punctuation mistakes they may find, but to let you know if anything needs clarification. Finally, when you think you’re done, step away for a few hours and return with fresh eyes. You’ll be surprised how many mistakes you’ll catch using these simple steps.

Pro Tip: Reading the resume out loud to yourself will help you catch awkward sounding phrases and missing words more quickly!

6. Use a modern resume template. This will help your resume stand out, and is a great way to show your personal style. Tailor it to your industry (more conservative sectors prefer toned down, black and white templates, while creative sectors encourage more colors and graphic design elements), and make sure that formatting is uniform throughout the resume.

Pro Tip: Many platforms like Microsoft Word and Google Docs offer free templates, and you can find dozens of other free templates online.

Using these 6 tips, you’ll wow your future employer and soon be on your way to a successful new career or business opportunity. Want an expert’s eye? Alpha Moose is always here to help customize your resume to any opportunity. Email us at Good luck!

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