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Spring Cleaning for Your Resume

Spring is in the air. It's the time of year when you wipe off the winter dust and let the sun shine in. Before you get all excited (yeah, right) about tackling the filth in your home, grab your resume and a pen. The first cleanup project this year should be your resume.

The Look

Whoever says looks don't matter hasn't been out on the job search battlefield lately. You have to use every possible advantage to compete in today's job market.

Make sure your resume looks polished. Be daring. Make your achievements stand out with bold type. Looks do count if you want to be picked for an interview.

Facelift

Does your resume look old and withered? Has it grown to three or four pages over time? Do you still list your first job after college graduation? Give your resume a facelift

by making it more concise Take some years off your resume by limiting your job history to the past 10 years. Summarize the rest of your experience with one general paragraph. A lighter, more updated look should open more doors.

Today's Terminology

Does your resume still refer to the affirmative action plan you wrote back in the 1980s? Do outdated terms and acronyms appear throughout your resume?

Terminology changes from year to year, so be sure your resume reflects current trends. For example, today's employers are searching for HR people with diversity experience. Your experience with a company's affirmative action plan may fall in that category, but if an employer searches its database using the word "diversity," you won't make the cut. Update the terminology on your resume so you don't miss opportunities.

Scanning Is Here to Stay

In the old days of manual resume screening, it was important to fill your resume with action words such as "created" or "managed." Today, resumes are typically scanned into resume databases, so your resume keywords are critical. Action words are out and nouns are in.

If you dust off your resume every year or two, you can avoid the unpleasant task of doing a time-consuming major resume blowout. Get it right this year, and next year you might be able to spend the time shopping for a new spring wardrobe.

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