If you watch the news regularly then I’m sure you’re familiar with the term fiscal responsibility. Of course the definition varies depending on who you ask and those in Washington could debate it endlessly but for me and my family, it means balancing our budget and living within our means. Each year my husband and I sit down to review our budget and ask ourselves how we can adjust in order to be more fiscally responsible. Where have things changed? Where do we need to increase spending and what can we eliminate in order to reach our long term financial goals? Things change and priorities shift.
Your budget should grow and change with you and the same should be said for your resume.
If we tried to live with the same budget we had before kids, my husband and I would be in big trouble financially and if you apply for your next job using the resume you had when you landed your current position, you’re not going to get a response. As you gain work experience and as you take on more responsibility, you should be updating your resume to reflect that growth. You should be adding bullets that speak to your updated skills and highlighting significant accomplishments.
At the same time, you need to be eliminating excess in order to keep your resume at a reasonable length (my general rule is one page for every ten years of experience, two pages max if you’re looking outside of academia). This is the step people often miss and the most common area of concern for my clients who worry that eliminating content will make them seem less qualified.
But in fact the opposite is true. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to know everything you’ve ever done, they want to know what you’ve done that is specifically relevant to the job they’re hiring for. It should be focused on the job you want, not the jobs you’ve had. Everything else is irrelevant. And this is where working with a professional can be incredibly helpful. It’s my job to dig deep with you, to help you understand where you really want to go to give you the tools you need to get there. But if you’re not in the market for a professional re-write, here’s a helpful question to ask yourself: if you were paying someone to write your resume and they were charging by the word, which words would you take out? Use this as a guiding principle to make your resume as fiscally, or verbally responsible as possible.