Career Comeback: 5 Ways to Botox Your Resume

Photograph: Photo Courtesy of Amazon

When it came time for Lisa Johnson Mandell, author of Career Comeback and lead career blogger for AOL’s, to jump back into the work force, the career veteran had to face a hard reality: her resume made her look dated—not experienced. “Your resume is supposed to be an advertisement for your own fresh, professional brand, but mine was showing me off to be about as cool and hip as Betty Crocker,” she writes. Wanting to come across to employers as “timeless and fresh,” Mandell decided to make a few nips and tucks—to her resume that is.

“I needed a little ‘Botox for the resume,’” she writes. So she “trimmed and hacked away at all those years of experience until a vibrant, capable woman of indeterminate age emerged.”

 Here are Mandell’s top 5 tips on how you too can Botox your resume and land the job you’ve been looking for:

1.    Customize your resume.

When writing up your resume, gear it to the job description in the ad you’re responding to. One resume doesn’t fit all jobs, and employers frequently send generic ones straight to the trash. This may seem like a simple concept, but it’s one people often overlook, Mandell says. For example, if the job description reads, “looking for a computer savvy self-starter,” make sure you resume says you’ve done that.

2.    Shave off the years.

Mandell recommends taking the year you graduated off of your resume.

“It ages you and is irrelevant,” she says. “Your university, major and degree are important.” Also, make sure to delete anything from 15 years ago or more. Outdated technologies or industry-related terminology will make you seem antiquated and most likely not be applicable in today’s workplace. 

3.    Put the most relevant information at the top

“People are going to look at the first one-third of your resume,” Mandell says. Showcase your greatest career triumphs in a section at the top of the page.  Bullet your accomplishments for a clear, concise resume that is easy to read. Besides, a block of text is just plain boring.

4.    Start a blog…

…and put it on your resume instead of your address.

Mandell advises against giving your home address. “People have subconscious prejudices against certain neighborhoods,” she says. “Also, some employers are looking for someone with a short commute, and you may be perfectly willing to relocate, but that’s too much information for the resume.”

Instead, give your blog URL. Having an Internet presence allows you to keep up with cutting edge technologies. Make sure your blog has a current photo, and additional, relevant background information about yourself.

5.    Use “white words.”

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