Hurriedly-Prepared Résumés are Often Inadequate
Recently, I participated in a career fair at a large university. I staffed my company’s booth and collected résumés for interviews my colleagues would conduct later this month.
In collecting résumés, I observed that a fair number of students’ résumés had lots of errors: spelling mistakes, clutter, poor organization, and so on—overall, incoherent portrayals of their credentials and achievements.
Disappointedly, I asked a few students when they had prepared their résumés for the career fair. Not surprisingly, most students responded with a “over the weekend” or “earlier this morning” answer. “Last night, I looked at the résumé I had prepared for last year’s career fair and updated it,” one student revealed.
Overcome Procrastination: Keep Your Résumé Ready
For many of us, preparing a comprehensive résumé is an overwhelming—if not the most difficult—element of the job-search process. We feel intimidated by the challenge of discussing our credentials and achievements, presenting them in a manner that will impress hiring managers—and do all this in just one page.
The result is that we often procrastinate on preparing or updating our résumés. When we need to prepare a résumé ahead of a career fair or when we discover a lead, we tend to put something together in haste and expect it to work efficiently. We do not realize that our résumés may compete with hundreds of other résumés for every job offer out there.
Update your Résumé Frequently
- If you are in college, revise your résumé at the beginning of each semester. Add relevant details from the past semester: particulars of your part-time work or course projects and update details such as your GPA or aggregate scores.
- If you work, update your résumé after each quarterly-performance review with your supervisor. Add relevant details from your projects and assignments from the recent past. Every year, after your annual-performance review, update your résumé thoroughly.
- Review each section of your résumé critically and question yourself, “Is this section relevant? Is there anything more worthwhile that I could replace this section with?”
- Review the details in each section and ask yourself, “What else could I add to this section? How could I better present this detail?”
- Get your résumé critiqued. If you are at college, consult a career counselor at your college’s career centre. If you are employed, show your résumé to colleagues, mentors, or others who may represent the intended audience for your résumé. Request them to critique every detail and make sure they understand details of your achievements.
By updating your résumé frequently, you can reduce the anxiety of preparing an impressive résumé at short notice. With reduced stress, you can focus on preparing for the other aspects of your job-search process—researching specific companies represented at the career fair or preparing to sell yourself to interesting companies.