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Tweaking your resume

Hiring Our Heroes job fair at the Washington Convention Center, on January 10, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Hiring Our Heroes job fair at the Washington Convention Center, on January 10, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

When was the last time you tweaked your resume? If you can’t think of the answer immediately, then perhaps it has been too long. If you’d like to remain a few steps ahead of your competition, you should continue reading about the 2 types of tweaks you may need to make to your resume right now.

Big Tweaks: These are adjustments made to industry jargon. I consider this to be a big tweak because it can be a major job, but is always necessary. All industries have jargon and acronyms that may be used on a daily basis. Probably the most classic example would be the military where acronyms are used daily.

  • What to do about jargon in this case? Scour your resume and cover letter for any words that may not be understood by those outside of the military. Spell out all acronyms, unless they are common ones everyone will know. In some cases, it may be better to summarize what the acronym is about or even eliminate it. Your goal is to focus on clarity for the reader who needs to understand what you did and how it relates to your next job.
  • Will this be effective? Yes. You must explain your past experience in a way others can relate to it.

Small Tweaks: Unfortunately, sometimes small tweaks, such as adding keywords, may be missed. Pay attention! If you overlook adding the right keywords to your resume, companies may think you aren’t a fit for the job and their culture. People who work in information technology are known for solving technical problems, deploying software, and can be credited for creating solutions to make departments run efficiently. They also work with people!

  • What about keywords in this case? If an IT person is looking to move into a more focused technical service position, it will be necessary to highlight customer relations, communication skills, and explaining technical concepts in a clear and concise manner. These keywords help the reader to visualize how the applicant can function in a service environment.
  • Will this be effective? It should. You have focused on your ability to meet any customer at any technical level and solve problems.

I like to say the resume and cover letter are like a pair of jeans: one size will not fit all! This makes it even more important to make the appropriate big and small tweaks whenever you apply for a new position. If you don’t know what tweaks to make, consult someone who can review your work and address your blind spots before a sending to a potential employer!

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