The new year is a great time to open up your resume and start slicing and dicing and/or cutting and pasting. If you’re already in reflection mode, there’s no time like the present to sift through your prior year to figure out what you did. Then look at your year ahead to see where you want to go. While the best thing to do is to just open up your resume and get started, having a plan of action can make it seem a little less overwhelming. Even better if you just have a short list of key things to focus on while you are making your updates and tweaks.

Top 3 Resume Tips for 2022

You don’t need a long to-do list when it comes to your resume. Sometimes, all you need is a few key areas to pay attention to, and your resume can start opening up doors for you.

1. Words Matter

You may think that you just need to take your position description or your tasks from your monthly report and simply add it to your resume. But the reality is that your resume needs a better picture of you. It’s important to use the right words on your resume that tell your potentially new employer that you have the right skills and experience. Too many words with too many acronyms, and you will lose them. On the other hand, too few words, and you’re just filling in white space without really saying anything at all. So, drop your filler words and make sure what your resume gives recruiters a true picture of you.

2. Order All Your Content Based on What You Want 

It won’t always be a job seekers market, but while it is, you want to take advantage of that. Do you want to find remote work? Are you looking for a managerial role? Have you thought of branching over into cyber? This may be the perfect year to do that, but you have to look at your experience, figure out what you actually want to do, and then craft the resume to highlight your experience in the right way. It is really hard to cut experience from the resume, but if it’s not relevant, you really need to chisel it out. Just because one job meant a lot to you does not mean it should take up valuable real estate on your resume. While you don’t need to have everything fit on one page, the reality is that your first page is what can make your initial impression. So, what does that first page say about you? If you want to branch into remote work, but you spend your entire first page highlighting all your in-person interactions and experience, you may not be sending the right signals. And if you think management is in your future, but you never say anything on your first page about your leadership roles in the past, you can assume that your odds of getting a management gig are low. You have to lead with where you want to go.

3. Remember Your Resume’s Job

Your resume’s job is not to get you a job, well, at least not on first encounter. Its primary job is to get a recruiter to call you or to get you an interview. It is your foot in the door. It can’t interview for you – only you can do that. But it should open doors for you and start conversations. If your resume is out there and no one is knocking, that should be a red flag to you. Perhaps the competition is steep, so you need to find a way to stand out more in the sea of resumes. Or maybe you have a niche field that isn’t hiring. Worst case scenario? Your resume stinks and no one understands what you can bring to the table. This is a great time to scrutinize what is missing and give it a face lift. Once you get an interview, your resume only works against you if it contradicts what you are saying in-person. So, keep that document in perspective. It can’t get you the job, but it can get you connected to the people hiring for the job. Make sure your resume has just enough content to make that introduction, while at the same time not overselling and setting you up to underdeliver.

Next Steps After the Resume Refresh

After you’ve made your updates, upload it to clearancejobs.com. Make sure your online profiles have your most updated information so that recruiters will get notifications that you’ve updated. You don’t need to tell the world that you’re open to work, but an updated profile will send the message that you want your latest and greatest information out there.

 

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.