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2011 Makeover Issue

Modernize your resume

9 ways to sell yourself now.

By Barbara Bedway
August 21, 2011

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JOB HISTORY? FORGET IT.

To make your skills seem current (and avoid potential ageism), limit your work history to the last 10 to 15 years unless your experience is particularly relevant, advises Alison Doyle, a job search expert at About.com.

KEEP TO A PAGE.

The person reviewing your resume needs to “quickly see who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done,” says Louise Kursmark, a resume writer and consultant based in Reading. Just because it’s an electronic file, that doesn’t make a second page OK.

REWRITE IT. AGAIN.

Tweak your resume every time you apply for a job, Doyle says. This is especially true now that companies use software to screen resumes; be sure yours contains the right keywords.

THINK TECH.

Keep your “skills” section updated to include the latest technology you’ve used. This can be anything from Excel to Wordpress.

GO MOBILE (carefully).

Apps like Indeed and LinkUp let you search and apply for jobs on the go. Just watch for mistakes, Doyle says. They’re easy to make on a tiny screen. If you’re away from your computer but need to send a resume pronto, try Resume App, which does the formatting for you.

LOSE THE FANCY FONTS.

Keep formatting simple so your resume will display cleanly on a variety of machines, from iPads to PCs. Or save it as a PDF, which will look the same on every device.

MULTIMEDIA MATTERS.

The website http://www.VisualCV.com allows you to create a multimedia resume – with video, charts, and links – and share it securely. In jobs from number crunching to creative directing, these extras make you look current.

GET WITH THE PROGRAMS.

Include hyperlinks to your work, but use a service like bitly.com to shorten the string. List your LinkedIn profile, sure, but add your Twitter ID only if your posts there are professional in nature.

MAKE AN ETIQUETTE CHECK.

Is your phone’s outgoing message suitably professional? (The same goes for any e-mail address you cite: foxylady72-at-wherever isn’t getting a follow-up.) And actually listen to voice mail, so you can react appropriately. “People my son’s age, 23, never check messages  –  they just call the person back,” Kursmark laments.