A Fresh Look at Your Resume: 2024 Edition
Making sure your resume is up-to-date should be a priority task on your 2024 to-do list. Industry experts suggest professionals update their resumes once a year, even if they are not actively seeking a new role.
As insurance recruiters, we advise professionals to refresh their resumes yearly. You never know when a new opportunity will present itself to you, or if you have an unexpected layoff. It’s best to avoid the stress of recollecting and recording the details of your career from the past 5-10 years in those crucial moments. With this in mind, here are our resume refresh tips to help you get started.
Stand out from the crowd
In an ocean of job applicants, your resume must sparkle like a beacon to grab the attention of hiring managers. You can accomplish this by infusing your unique personality and value proposition into your resume. Paint a vivid picture of who you are as a professional by linking your past experiences to the potential role you’re applying for. Consider sharing interesting projects or initiatives you’ve led, or exceptional results you’ve achieved. In addition, pay attention to the aesthetics of your resume. Keep it clean, organized and visually appealing to make it easier for recruiters to digest the information.
Showcase your skills
Let your skills steal the show, ensuring they sync perfectly with the job’s prerequisites. Feature both hard skills such as project management or data analysis and soft skills like effective communication or problem-solving. Contextualize and give tangible instances of how these skills have driven success in previous roles.
When wielded wisely, key verbs can breathe life into your work history, painting a vivid image of your industriousness. “Managed”, “delivered”, “achieved” or “enhanced” are examples of words that can add a zest of dynamism to your resume, portraying you as an active participant in your professional journey. Instead of simply stating your duties, use these verbs to ignite each bullet point under your job descriptions. This small tweak can provide a significant shift, transitioning your resume from a dull list of roles into an engaging story of your proactive attitude and accomplishments.
List out your achievements
Highlighting your career highlights with pride. Your achievements are your career’s most triumphant moments, the milestones where your efforts have bore significant fruits. Illuminate these moments brightly on your resume. Were you the top salesperson in your company? Did you implement a system that saved time and money? Maybe you mastered a challenging project? Don’t shy away from boasting a bit.
Tell YOUR story
Your resume is not just a list of jobs, it’s a chronicle of your professional journey. It should tell a compelling story about who you are, what you’ve accomplished and where you’re headed. When outlining your career history, weave a narrative that connects your experiences, skills and achievements, creating a cohesive, captivating plotline. Discuss the challenges you’ve tackled, the insights you’ve gained and the growth you’ve experienced.
Numbers speak louder than words. They provide a clear, objective representation of your accomplishments, adding a layer of credibility to your claims. Whenever feasible, pepper your resume with quantifiable data. Have you boosted sales figures or efficiency? By what percentage? How many people did you lead in a team? These figures are powerful performance indicators that illuminate the extent of your influence in your previous roles. They offer potential employers a gauge to measure your past success and predict your future performance.
Optimize for ATS
An essential step in resume refinement is ensuring it’s ready for the robotic gaze of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These systems are the first line of defense in many hiring processes, scanning and sorting resumes based on keywords. Strive to make your resume ATS-compliant by studying the job description and strategically including relevant keywords. This isn’t about stuffing your resume with buzzwords, but artfully weaving them into your narrative.
Avoid business cliches
Clichés are the arch-nemesis of originality. Phrases like “think outside the box”, “hit the ground running” or “synergy” have been used so frequently in the business world they’ve lost their impact. These worn-out expressions can make your resume seem generic and uninspired. Instead, express your abilities and accomplishments in a way that is authentic and unique to you. Ditch the jargon and opt for clear, concise language that accurately represents your experiences.
Check. Then double-check.
The last thing you want is for your stellar resume to be marred by simple mistakes. Proofreading should be non-negotiable in your resume refresh process. From punctuation and grammar to the accuracy of your information, every detail matters. To catch any lurking errors, read your resume out loud and listen to the flow of your sentences. If possible, have a trusted colleague or friend review it as well for a fresh perspective.
Believe in your story and convey it with confidence. Your resume is your professional spotlight, illuminating your journey, skills and achievements. Strive to evoke confidence in your abilities and in your potential to bring value to the role you’re applying for.
However, remember to balance confidence with humility. Acknowledge the experiences that have shaped you, the growth you’ve made and the potential you have to continue learning. Be the protagonist of your resume story, confidently showcasing your career journey and embracing the potential chapters yet to be written in 2024.
Now, after sprucing up your resume, why not take a step further? The James Allen Companies, an expert in insurance recruitment, is ready to help you find your next role. We’re equipped to match your polished resume with fitting opportunities. Reach out to us today and learn more about how we can boost your career journey in the insurance industry.