In preparation for job hunting success in the new year, take a few minutes this week to revamp your resume.
It doesn't have to take long or require professional help. Here are five quick resume fixes you can tackle today in just minutes.
Check your contact information
You should have an email address that sounds professional and that ideally includes little more than your name. Even tacking on a number can give away your age since most people choose the year of their birth. If you have an address like firstname.lastname@example.org or one that outs you as a party animal, get a new email address and check it regularly. Sites like Yahoo and Google give them away for free. Then make sure the phone number listed on your resume has voicemail, make sure the outgoing message includes your name, and also make sure the message isn't anything long or silly that might turn off a potential employer from inviting you for an interview.
Check your margins
There should be an inch of white space all the way around your resume. Anything less looks wordy and uninviting.
One of the hardest parts about writing a resume is fitting in as many keywords and skills as possible without making the resume so densely packed with information that no one who sees it wants to read it. Having enough white space throughout your resume is important for the same reason having one inch margins is important -- it makes it more inviting to the eye. When a hiring manager has a hundred resumes to go through, it's tempting, easy, and sometimes even wise to throw out the ones that look hard to read. One quick way to add white space and readability is to describe your previous job descriptions in bullet lists instead of paragraphs.
I once read a resume for a college professor that included every job she had ever had, including working at a fast food restaurant some thirty years earlier. If the experience is very old OR doesn't relate to your current job hunt, cut it from your resume. Leaving in experience that seems completely irrelevant only serves to confuse your reader.
Glance over your entire resume. The format and font should be consistent throughout. If you bold-faced one job title, make sure you bold-face all of them. If you listed the city and state under one job, make sure the location appears under all of them.
In less than half an hour, these tips will make your resume more up to date and easier to read so that you're one step closer to a new job in 2012. Happy holidays!
Carissa Doshi is a business writer and the president of Gen Y Media Group. She gives career advice and blogs about her experiences on www.carissadoshi.com. You can also follow @CarissaDoshi on Twitter.