By Jim Wong, CPA | September 27, 2017

When it comes to managing your career, it’s smart to assess your professional goals – no matter what stage you’re in. If you’re a recent graduate, you’re likely looking for an entry-level role. If you’re a middle-manager, you might be looking for more leadership responsibilities. If you’re nearing retirement, you’re probably interested in opportunities that would be appropriate at that point in your career.

It’s important to understand where you are on your professional journey so that you can plan where you’re going – and set yourself up for success. That for most professionals, starts with your resume.

If you’re looking to land a new role, the fall is a great time to either start creating a new resume or dusting off an old one so that you can update it with your qualifications and experience from the year, while including all the latest best practices.

In fact, with the advancements in technologies, the do(s) and don’t(s) of resume building have evolved. What once was a resume standard may now be a resume no-no.

It’s best to keep yourself updated with what hiring managers are expecting when it comes to your resume. Most often than not, your resume will only get viewed for mere seconds before an initial opinion has been formed. Make sure to catch the eye of the hiring manager right away.

I came across an article on that nicely highlights some good resume practices. I thought I’d share a few of their tips along with a few of my own in the Top 3 Ways to Set Your Resume Up for Success below.

1. Know you have options.
At one point in time, the chronological format – where you list your most recent experience first and work backwards in time – was the only way to go. Now, you can choose from other options such as a functional resume. This type of resume format is best when you want to center your resume on one specific position you want to land. It calls for you to group certain experience together in order to highlight your skillsets and qualifications related to that role. This makes it easier for hiring managers to see that work history—instead of them having to dissect which positions throughout your career had the responsibilities they’re looking for. A functional resume helps tie all of that information together in a clearer way.

2. Show your human side.
Many resumes these days are including personal summaries that shed light on any unique experience you might have and how that can relate to your new role. It shows a little more insight into who you are beyond the job title—and ultimately what sets you apart. This also helps explain some specifics on your resume that might need some clarification without going into too much detail as you would in an interview. Telling your career story at the top of your resume in a clear and concise, yet real, manner can help you land an interview and possibly the role itself.

3. Leave off some details.
While you might be eager to share everything on your resume, sometimes it’s best to wait until prompted to share it all, especially when it comes to references and/or compensation details. In the past, it was customary to include a list of references, or even, a line that said, “References Upon Request.” Now, if a hiring company wants to get to know you better and call you in for an interview, they will ask for references once they get close to a decision. It’s best to keep a separate document with your references ready to hand them when that time comes. You don’t want to take up valuable space on your resume for a phrase that’s already implied. Additionally, compensation or salary history can be a sensitive topic. It’s best practice to keep that conversation under wraps until the appropriate time.

What are some other tips to help set a resume up for success? Sound off in the comment section below!

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