Economy & Business
12:47 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

5 Tips for Updating Your Resume

Looking for a job? Better brush up on that resume.
Credit photologue_np/Flickr
Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci interviews certified resume writer Brenda Bernstein.

September's the time to brush up your resume, says Career Directors International. The organization has declared it the official "Update Your Resume" month.

So we turned to Madison-based certified master resume writer Brenda Bernstein, who's also the author of the new book, How to Write a Winning Resume: 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target.

She offers five of those tips here:

1. Target and tailor your resume.

Bernstein says there is no one-size-fits-all resume. Write a new resume for every job to which you apply.

"The employer wants to know that you've put effort into this resume, just like you would put into your job if you were hired," she says.

2. Don't just list your duties.

Instead, Bernstein recommends looking at the job description and using the key words related to the position. But she warns, don't just repeat those key words - substantiate them by showing what you've done to meet those descriptors.

"If you just write that you had these particular duties, even if you hit all the key words, it's not going to get you very far," she says, "because there's going to be someone sitting next to you who had all those same job duties, but you increased sales by 80 percent, and they've increased sales by 60 percent. So which one of you is going to get the job?"

3. Always show results.

"(Employers) are much more focused on wanting to see numbers, wanting to see metrics, wanting to see what results did you produce," she says. "Numbers and results and accomplishments are what are going to get you the job."

Take some time to think about what you have uniquely accomplished in each job title you've held. Look for where you made a difference in the organization (i.e. increased sales, improved processes, shrank costs, etc.). List them in an organized way.

4. Show your personality

"What is it that you want to convey through your resume that's going to make you shine as someone with a unique personality, unique accomplishments?" Bernstein asks.

Showcasing who you are and your personality with small turns of phrase in your resume; that will let yours stand out. But make sure it is industry appropriate.

5. Avoid the Don'ts.

Don't use the words responsibilities, helped, assisted, various or etcetera. Bernstein says find better, more descriptive ways to detail your accomplishments.

Brenda Bernstein is Madison's only certified master resume writer, whose also known as the Essay Expert. She is the author of How to Write a Winning Resume: 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target and How to Write a Stellar Executive Resume.

This interview originally aired September 26, 2013.