6 Fast Ways to Improve Your Resume
It's tragic that one's potential worth to an orgainzation is gauged by a piece of paper, but that's just how the game is played! For good or for bad, a résumé helps a candidate get her foot in the door or sends her name flying to the "reject" pile. This practice hurts those with thin resumes. Recent college graduates, parents returning to the work force, and career changers are all at a disadvantage because their resumes may not initially show that they are qualified for a position.
Don't let your résumé hold you back from getting your dream job. Here is a list of 6 things you can do to beef up your résumé in less than 6 months.
Learn a language
I know what you're thinking. Learning a language is not easy! I agree with that. However, coming from someone who is multilingual, it may not be as difficult as you think either. The more you learn about a language, the easier it becomes. The hardest part is just getting started.
If you are reading this article, you already know one of the most important languages in the world; English. Knowing English will give you a base to learn other romance languages such as Spanish and French. If you took some language classes in high school or college, you will be surprised how quickly you will pick it back up once you start studying again.
With the modern convenience of technology, you no longer need to attend a formal class to learn a foreign language. There are several great programs such as Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and Mango that allow you learn a new language from the comfort of your own home. Some of these programs are somewhat expensive. I recommend a very reasonably priced program is Instant Immersion. It's a fun and effective way to learn a language. If you practice for an hour each day, you can reasonably expect to achieve working proficiency in 6 months.
Take a Free Course
If you graduated college over 10 years ago, you should consider updating your résumé by taking some classes. There are a ridiculous amount of options to choose from. You can attend classes at a local college or you can venture into the world of online education. There are thousands of online programs that are offered through different educational institutions.
I would highly recommend taking an "edX" program. Edx is non-profit educational enterprise that partners with élite universities to offer online courses, absolutely free. Universities that are currently partnered with edX include Harvard, MIT, Berkeley and University of Texas. EdX offers highly sought after courses in in-demand fields. Students can even receive a certificate after successfully completing the course.
I recommend edX for a number of reasons. First, it is virtually free of charge. You can't beat free! Second, the classes are flexible and allow students to advance at their own pace. The courses are perfect for working professionals or busy parents. Finally, at the end of a course you will be able to put the name of a well-respected university on your résumé. You can bet that "HarvardX" will definitely grab the attention of employers.
Volunteer work is a great way to set yourself apart from your competition. Business is not all about profits. It's about a community of people working together towards a common goal. Employers want to know if your are going to be a good part of that team. Giving service is an excellent way to say, "Hey, I work hard and care about others."
Don't volunteer at any old place. Give service by showcasing or developing new skills. Have your volunteer work help tell the story about who you are and what you are all about.
Learn a Skill
No, wordprocessing hasn't counted as a "skill" since 1999. Most employers expect their employees to come to the job with a basic understanding of technology and being able to type at least 35 words per minute. However, there are other learnable skills that can be big assets to your résumé.
If you know what job you want, acquire a skill that is specific to that position. If you not sure what career path you want to take, consider learning one of these highly transferable skills; fundraising, sales, management, organization, communication, first aid, or search engine optimization. Many of these skills can be learned by volunteering or taking a course on them. Others can simply be learned by spending a couple of hours at your local library.
Do an Internship
I know, I know. You're not a college student, so why should you do an internship? The answer is because it can help your résumé. A lot. Many internships can be done on a part time basis, so you don't need to leave your current job.
An internship can get your foot in the door at a company where you would like to work. Even if that business is not currently hiring, you can bet that a successful intern's name will be at the top of the pile when the next position does open up.
Internships are great for people who are looking to change careers. It is a way that you can get your feet wet in an industry without quitting your old job. It is also a great way to make connections. If you are trying to break into a specialized industry, chances are that all the major players know each other. A letter of recommendation from a name in the business may be just what you need to land an interview at another firm.
Become an Expert
Many competitive industries receive hundreds of applications for a single position. They are looking for someone who can add value to their business. A prime way to stand out from the flock is to become an expert in your field. Even if you don't currently have a job in the field that you are trying to break into, there are other ways to build expertise.
You could become a writer. Let's say you want to break into the fashion industry. You can start a blog on something related to fashion. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Try to hone your expertise on one or two niche areas. For example, you may start a blog on leather vs leather substitutes. You can also submit your articles to online magazines and newsletters. The more quality content that you write, the more you will solidify yourself as an expert in the field.
You may also consider starting a business. Online businesses have very low start-up costs. Get a website and make sure to have a biography section on yourself. Get some cheap business cards from VistaPrint and pass them out to everyone that you meet. As your business grows you can choose to continue being your own boss or parlay your experience into a job with your dream company.
The main point of this article is that you do not need to go back to school for 4 years to improve your résumé. Every tip in this article can be accomplished in 6 months or less while keeping you full-time job. At the end of 6 months, you will have a beefed up résumé that will empower you to land your dream career.