When Did You Last Update Your Resume?

Career Blog

Published: July 5, 2019 by Greta Snyder

So, I don’t know about you, but my resume is a hot mess. You’ve all had so many varied, interesting experiences making you the phenomenally skilled and adaptable blossoming professionals you are today, but how to translate this into one to two pages to get the job of your dreams? Take a deep breath, as summer is the perfect time for a resume refresh that will set you up for job search success.

Where to Start…

It can feel super overwhelming to figure out where to start. So, how do you turn your current resume that just feels like a list of skills, achievements and workplaces, into a focused presentation of qualifications, experiences and attributes that directly links you to your next amazing opportunity? Just think, it’s only one click away!

Fortunately for SJSU iSchool students and alumni, we  can call on the extraordinary expertise of Career Consultant Jill Klees, the ultimate resume resource. Jill will review your resume and provide suggestions, edits and feedback. Definitely something we all should have on our “to-do” list.

I kept putting off taking advantage of this amazing opportunity out of fear that my resume was an untenable disaster, but, yep, resumes are intended to be read, so why wouldn’t I have an expert read it and help me turn it from a weakness into a strength! As soon as I hit “send” on my email to Jill, I felt progress. Even where I am now, about half-way through the process, I feel empowered, enlightened and way more excited about applying for jobs. So, first, thank you Jill, and second, everyone should take a chance and go on a resume redo adventure this summer!

Tell a Story 

Right away, Jill drew my attention to the following tips:

  • It is more important to emphasize your job title and role before the specific employer. This makes perfect sense, as potential future employers are scanning resumes for a CliffsNotes version of what roles you have held to get the gist of what you can do.
  • How you did it: what steps did you take, how do you characterize your style to present, problem solve, manage a project, work with a team, strategically plan or lead? Sharing deliverables, results and other crucial metrics targets potential employers. Think of it this way:  if you can’t articulate your current work in a concise way, how could you possibly express yourself clearly in an interview, let alone be able to present information to patrons, clientele or stakeholders? If you keep thinking bigger picture, crafting your resume becomes much less personal, much more professional. Approach it like someone hired you to write and present your resume.Get specific with action words, such as demonstrating, engaging or exhibiting: what fact or measurable deliverable can you use to document or clarify your impact for a potential employer? For example, if you demonstrated proficiency in designing an engaging story-time reading program, by what percentage did attendance go up, how did patrons respond on surveys, by how much did the program expand with your leadership?

So, now put this information together…

  • Collect facts in measurable increments from current and previous work. Facts reinforce your credibility and actively demonstrate your ability to present clear, concise information.
  • Use precise vocabulary pulled from job listings to translate your work into key terms so that you can craft your resume to strategically link to the jobs you desire. Think of key words as hashtags to increase your resume’s searchability and “findability.”

Be objective and ask “if I were hiring someone what would I want to know?” Really think about it; because we’re information professionals, the ideal is that the information you share is accessible, transparent, relatable and relevant to the job in question. Resumes are stressful and it’s easy to lose touch with your core strengths and professional skills under the juggernaut of job seeking. But you can be the exception.  Realize that pressure can be good when it inspires us to change.  Why not work with Jill this summer to dust off your resume and make your experience and skills shine?

Additional SJSU Resume Resources

As the SJSU iSchool resume resource page prompts, “it is never too early to put together a resume,” and it is also never too late! Your life constantly updates, so should your resume.

Final Thoughts

I cannot recommend this process enough, it is so crucial in our profession to reach out to experts in the field, connect and seek feedback and insight. We have access to expert resources through the iSchool, including Jill and Kim Dority, and their most important goal is to help us succeed in launching our careers. I keep learning that it’s a best practice to let go of fear and intimidation, so now is a great time to practice that by working with and learning from some of the most engaged, generous and insightful professionals in the field. If not now, then when?

Speaking of Kim, she hosts the iSchool Career Podcast, which is hands down awesome. I mean, come on, the tag line is so inspiring, “how do you get from where you are (passionate, smart student) to where you’d like to be (happily employed information professional with a thriving career)? Find out from individuals who’ve done just that – and are willing to share their journeys.” What a great question; and yes, please! Do yourself a favor and tune in.

The most recent episode, Career Insights from Chris Coughlan, is an exciting look at how to turn your unique background and LIS skills into a fascinating career path. This episode will absolutely give you an aha moment of how to synthesize what you have done with what you are learning, and where you want to go professionally. Chris and Kim look at the future of user experience (UX) and discuss how to become involved in the field. Chris emphasizes skills she learned through the LIS program and through on-the-job experience that helped accelerate her development, such as interviewing, data synthesis and analysis, and survey design, and we are fortunate to have a front row seat to such valuable, actionable insider information. They bring it home with Chris’s advice to students: develop your professional expertise, connections, and visibility in your chosen career by putting yourself out there through experiences such as workshops, conferences, meet-ups, and events so you can “have discussions, and challenge everything.” What invaluable words of wisdom; thank you Chris!

Let’s talk! Please comment below, email me, or Tweet at me with any questions, suggestions or resume stories. I’d also love to connect with you on LinkedIn.

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