In my critical thought process, I have to wonder: Why would anyone let such a living document become dusty? I would like to center my advice around the very thought that a resume should be what I alluded to, a living document.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give as an active career leader and one who is looking to the future as I complete my master’s is to create a copy of your resume that allows you to easily tailor the information to specific careers you are looking to feature. Meaning, I have a main resume that houses all of my pertinent careers, skills, education, and volunteer information. When it comes time to look for a new position, I will copy and modify this resume, cutting out parts that are not fitting to the position and giving slightly more details on the skills they are looking for. Then, I save it as a new document. Doing this will give a message to your prospective employer that says, “this position is specific to me and here is why!”
Now, some of you may read this and feel content with your current position and that is wonderful. However, in our evolving world, learning new skills comes subtly, often without even realizing you are learning something new. Something as simple as tracking new skills and learning to report them on a resume can make all the difference. Adding skills over time, especially with each new position (and company), shows that you are evolving in your career.
Say you are content with your current company, but potential for promotion has opened up. Showing how your skills evolved with company growth will help put you in the running. Adding to your resume little by little over time will help reduce the clutter and make it easier to control what you are trying to add in.
As for style, I would always stay away from using big blocks of text and information. Keep in mind that a hiring manager may go through several resumes in a given day. Eyes get tired and people grow weary of having to search for what they are looking for. Making it easier to spot specific information stands a better shot of having you recognized. Most importantly, bring a piece of yourself into this document. You are telling people about your career life, which is certainly a major part of who you are. While being to the point in text, don’t be afraid to be creative in format - obviously nothing outlandish, but add a piece of yourself to see where things go.
All in all, I can wrap this up with three C’s: