Five Tips for Updating Your Resume

According to jobjournal.com, “While the weather might be frightful, job hunting can be so delightful.” Patricia Hunt Sinacole of Bostonworks/Monster also advises job seekers to use the late winter months to prepare for a springtime job hunt.

According to jobjournal.com, “While the weather might be frightful, job hunting can be so delightful.” Patricia Hunt Sinacole of Bostonworks/Monster also advises job seekers to use the late winter months to prepare for a springtime job hunt.

While Monster and Job Journal provide advice for job seekers in all sectors, Jennetta Hyatt, recruitment manager at Third Sector New England, tells us that a winter/spring timetable is prime job hunting season in the non-profit field as well. And she provides the following tips to help non-profit staffers prepare their résumé and cover letter for a successful job search over the next few months.

Freshen Up

  1. Hyatt suggests that first, you will want to make sure your most up-to-date email is on your résumé. A résumé without an email address is not taken very seriously in today's workforce.
    Be sure that you use your personal email, not a work email address. You don’t want to use your employer’s email system for job hunting. It is not only unethical to use your employer’s resources for your job hunt, but it sends the signal to potential employers that you may use their resources in an equally inappropriate manner.
    If your personal email lacks a professional tone, i.e., sexymomma@..., get a new one for free at AOL, gmail, Yahoo, etc.
  2. Second, make sure you add skills gained over the past year, even if they are not directly tied to your job description. For example, if you are a program specialist but you now contribute text to your nonprofit’s website, add that. And, perhaps, you now post to the website and have learned some basic HTML, so be sure to include this information.
  3. As you update your résumé package, be sure also to add information about new skills you have built outside of the workplace. While you would probably think to add any new degrees that you received since your last résumé update, you may not think to add classes, certifications, fellowships or other educational accomplishments.
    Also add any new boards on which you serve and other volunteer experiences, and similar non-work skill building.
  4. Re-evaluate the lay-out and design of your résumé. While a beautifully laid out résumé in PDF form can make a great first impression, it can also cause problems when you need to email it to potential employers or when you need to upload it online.
    Consider creating two copies of your résumé -- with one using a basic, universal font like Helvetica/Arial or Times Roman and no symbols (yes, use hyphens instead of bullets and no “smart quotes”). This will assure that your résumé doesn’t translate poorly with slash marks and strange symbols where your accomplishments should be.
  5. Lastly, when preparing your résumé package, remember that your cover letter is just as important as your résumé, so be sure to update it also. Use it to address requirements of the job you are qualifying for that may not be obvious from your résumé. If you are applying for a not-for-profit job after years in the for-profit world, you can highlight your longtime volunteer work with a nonprofit to show transferable skills and experiences.

Good luck, and happy job hunting!

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