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Your Year-End Resumé Refresh: 8 Tips For Putting Your Best Foot Forward In 2024

December 18, 2023 3:53 PM | Meko Lawson (Administrator)

Photo: Christina Morillo - Pexels

By: NyRee Ausler

If you are like most people, you don’t really think about what’s on your resumé until it is time to look for a new job. You scramble to add your most recent experience and insert some duties and responsibilities. It reads like every other candidate’s resumé, “blah, blah, blah”.

If you truly want to stand out from other applicants and show your value to potential employers, it’s important to add your achievements and experiences while they are still fresh in your mind and relevant to your career goals. That means taking the time to stop and refresh your resume regularly so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time.

And what better time to make those updates than the end of the year? As you take inventory of what went right or wrong, your wins and losses, you can translate those experiences into words that tell your personal story of growth, perseverance, and resilience. 

 Photo: Andrea Piacquadio - Pexels

Here are 8 of the best practices for updating your resumé:
1. Choose the right accomplishments to add
Knowing exactly what your career goals are is important for deciding what skills and achievements are relevant.  Identify those that are most relevant to the position you plan on getting or retaining in the near future.

Then, reflect on 2023 and come up with examples of work, education, or personal projects that demonstrate those skills and experiences.
2. Use the PAR or the STAR method
PAR stands for Problem, Action, and Result. Similarly, the STAR acronym represents Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is an easy to understand and logical way to structure your accomplishments, highlighting the impact of your work.

For every accomplishment listed, describe the problem or challenge you faced, what you did to resolve it, and the result or outcome. This method of demonstrating your capabilities directly correlates your actions with intended results.
3. Quantify your results
Ideally, the results of the work you did should be measurable. Whenever possible, you should use numbers, percentages, or other metrics to show the magnitude and significance of your achievements.

For example, instead of saying “increased sales”, say “increased sales by 25% in six months”. Framing your accomplishment in this way also demonstrates that you know how to set and meet SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
4. Use action verbs
Use strong action verbs that describe what you did when sharing your accomplishments. For example, use verbs like “led”, “created”, “launched”, “developed”, “improved”, “implemented”, or “achieved”.

An example that demonstrates this is, “Designed and developed a chatbot that improved customer satisfaction by 35% and reduced response time by 50%. Used Python, TensorFlow, and Azure Cognitive Services to implement the chatbot functionality and user interface.”

Avoid passive or vague verbs like “was responsible for”, “assisted with”, “participated in” or “helped”. These seem to indicate that you just happened to be part of something, rather than showing intention, leadership, or autonomy.

Video: Mika Thompson - YouTube

5. Tailor your resumé to each job
All resumés are not created equal. What works for one position will get you overlooked for another. You need a relevant resumé for every role you intend to apply for.

Customize each one to match the specific requirements and expectations. Highlight the accomplishments that are most relevant and impressive for each position.
6. Education matters
If you have gotten new degrees or certifications in 2023, it’s important to include them in your resumé. This includes any internships or milestones you’ve completed and the work you’ve done as part of that assignment.

You might say, “Recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and 3+ years of internship experience”. In describing your achievements, you could write, “Developed and launched a web app that reached over 10,000 users and won the Best Student Project Award at the 2023 Tech Expo”.

Another example is to add, “Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, University of Washington, 2023”. You could add, “Graduated with honors and a 3.8 GPA” or “Completed a capstone project on machine learning that was published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research”.
7. Consider any new skills you’ve acquired
On-the-job learning and knowledge you pick up on your own time is important information to add. Any new technological skills should be included in your updated resumé.

You may have become proficient in Python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or SQL over the past year. Or you may have become certified in Scrum and Agile methodologies. As long as your new skills are relevant to the role, add them to your documented experience proudly.
8. Don’t be afraid to brag a little
Think of your resumé as a personal commercial that sells your skills, experience, and knowledge to perspective employers. Any accolade or awards you have received this year are great to include as they demonstrate your commitment to excellence.

Some straightforward examples of how to do this are, “Best Student Project Award, Tech Expo, 2023”, “Dean’s List, University of Washington, 2021-2023”, or “Microsoft Imagine Cup Finalist, 2022”.

You are your own best advocate when it comes to your career.
Remember that no one knows you better than you. The person most qualified to tout your achievements and experiences is that person who was there every step of the way… you!

Updating your resumé regularly is vital to keeping track of what you’ve done professionally. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. Wishing you an abundant 2024!NyRee Ausler, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, is a writer and author from Seattle, Washington. She covers workplace issues using the experience garnered over two decades of working in Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

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