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A lot of people think the holiday season is a bad time to look for a new job. With the year winding down, offices closing, and people going on vacation, it’s not difficult to see why you might table your job search until the New Year. But jobs open up year-round, and a company’s hiring process depends more on its needs than on the season.
Sure, things might slow down around the holidays for some companies, but this is in no way a blanket statement. In fact, the holiday season presents some fantastic networking opportunities to jumpstart your job search.
Even if you’re not ready to look right now, you can take advantage of the downtime the holidays bring so that when January rolls around, you hit the ground running. For instance, this is a great time to reevaluate and revamp your resume. Here are six things you can do to your resume to get a head start on your New Year’s job search.
Take Inventory of your Skills and Achievements
The holidays are a time to reflect, and as the year draws to a close, it’s helpful to ruminate on everything that’s happened this year. What did you learn in 2018? What interests did you pursue? What skills did you develop?
Take a look at the Skills section of your resume and update it to reflect anything new that happened this year. Did you learn a new software program? Were you certified in anything? If you have a separate section for awards or recognitions, update this as well. Think of your resume as a snapshot of your professional journey, and use this opportunity to make sure it reflects where you currently are.
Update your Projects and Responsibilities
If you worked this year, it’s important that the projects and responsibilities you list are up to date. Think about some of the highlights of your year—major things you worked on, projects that demonstrate new skills. If something was particularly impactful to your employer, or is relevant to the jobs you’ll be applying to, make sure it’s front and center.
Try to quantify your results if you can. Sales numbers, website traffic, social media engagement—whatever your KPI’s (key performance indicators) are. Including any pertinent data you have access to shows that you are results-oriented and accountable.
Change Up Your Format
Formatting can make or break a resume. If you haven’t been hearing back from hiring managers, or if your resume feels a little stale, consider changing things up a bit. You’d be surprised what a difference a few simple changes can make. Font, spacing, paragraph brakes—even bullet styles—can make all the difference in your resume’s presentation.
If you’re in a creative industry, like fashion or graphic design, your resume may call for something visually engaging (side note: this is a great time to update your portfolio). This is very job-specific, however; use discretion when pushing the envelope. Generally, a resume should be clear and concise, neatly formatted with a simple font and proper headings. Play around with our collection of resume samples to find one that works for you.
Consider a Functional Resume
Resumes are traditionally organized in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent employer and job title. Some people, however, find it useful to create a functional, or skills-based resume. A functional resume is organized by specific transferable skills, emphasizing the projects in which you developed and applied those skills.
A functional resume shifts the focus to your talents and capabilities rather than the specific positions you’ve held. Your employment history is included, but insofar as each job serves as an example of how you used the skills you’re presenting.
You might consider this kind of resume if you’re a recent graduate without much work experience, or if your experience isn’t directly related to the job you’re applying for. Skills-based resumes are also good for people who have had a lot of internships, temporary assignments, or done a lot of freelancing. A functional resume isn’t for everyone, and some employers are skeptical of resumes that prioritize skills over concrete experience, so you should carefully evaluate whether this is the right type for you.
Get a Second Pair of Eyes to Look at It
There’s nothing more helpful than having somebody provide feedback on your resume. A second pair of eyes is an excellent way to get another person’s perspective—to see how your resume comes across to someone else, and what a hiring manager might take away from it. It’s hard to look at your own resume objectively. No matter how many times you proofread or revise, you’re bound to overlook something.
Ask a friend or trusted colleague to review your resume, or get a professional resume critique. They may offer insight into your wording, formatting, grammar, and the strongest aspects of your resume—what’s working and what you can build upon. Be mindful of the fact that people are busy during the holidays, so give them ample time to review.
Update Your Online Resume
If you post your resume online—either to job sites like Indeed or Monster, or to a social network like LinkedIn—this version of your resume must also be up to date. Chances are that if you post your resume digitally, these are the platforms through which you want hiring managers and recruiters to see you.
Once you’ve updated your resume, make those same changes to any digital channel where you showcase your professional experience. This ensures that the first impression people in your network have of you is current and accurate. It’ll save time and confusion if the resume you send a hiring manager who reached out to you through LinkedIn mirrors the information in your profile.
For more helpful resume advice, be sure to check out Vault’s resume resources at http://www.vault.com/resumes.
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