9 Practical Tips to Optimize Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile for the New Year

Right now is a crucial time as any to get your resume and LinkedIn profile updated, in sync and given to the right contacts to land your next job faster. Whether you are simply updating your achievements, beginning a job search or switching careers, it is advantageous to capitalize on this time of year to ensure you are ready for anything.

Here are 9 resume and LinkedIn profile tips that you can do right now to get your resume and profile optimized and up-to-date fast.

1. Ensure your resume summary and LinkedIn headline correlate to strengthen your brand across mediums.

To communicate your brand effectively, start with aligning the content of your resume summary with your LinkedIn headline and summary to reinforce what position you are targeting and how you go about doing your job. For example, if you are targeting a Senior Portfolio Analyst position, you will want to make sure this target role is written as a title in your resume summary and incorporated into your LinkedIn headline. Having the title listed prominently on both documents not only improves your resume/profile keyword optimization, but reinforces to the reader in a split second what position you want by using the right keywords.

2. New Year = New Look.

Give your resume an updated contemporary look to give it a renewed appearance and you a rejuvenated sense of confidence.  If your resume has been using the same layout from 3-5 years ago (or <gasp!> longer), it is time to give it an updated makeover. You can still have a conservative format, if that is what you and your industry is calling for, but conservative can still be done in a contemporary manner.

3. Use keyword position titles in the employment sections of your resume and profile to improve keyword optimization.

Do you have a title that seems unique to your company and not a mainstream title for what you do? If so, then consider using the mainstream equivalent in the employment title headings on your resume and LinkedIn profile to improve the “searchability” of your documents. For example, if your title is Business Unit Manager, but you really are performing what would be called Finance Manager to the rest of the world, then consider listing your position on your resume/profile in this manner: “Business Unit Manager (Finance Manager)” to help with the keyword optimization of your target role and the clarity of what you are pursuing in the mind of the hiring manager.

4. List your most notable achievements for the year.

Review the year and note your specific challenges, actions taken to overcome those challenges and proudest successes stemming from those experiences. Aim to have 6-8 accomplishments so you can have solid ammunition to write your resume and profile with possibilities to spare. You want to make sure you have a solid foundation of accomplishment to format your achievement-based document to help land that coveted interview.

5. Update your resume and profile with new training you have finished, accolades you have been awarded, and any new professional membership you now have.

Demonstrate your commitment to your career and lifelong learning by updating the professional development initiatives in which you have participated. Smart employers want to hire motivated, high-caliber professionals who are serious and proactive about their own personal achievement and self-improvement.

6. Write your resume and LinkedIn profile to be forward looking document that catalogues how your accomplishments are in alignment with results desired by the prospective employer.

Do not write backward-looking documents that simply state your employment history. It is important that your resume and LinkedIn profile show where you are going and how you will add value to the next organization you will join.

Bonus: Learn how to overcome the biggest hurdle in your job search — yourself. Check out my new Guide on the Job Landing Mindset.

7. Ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile can stand alone in the event your resume gets separated from your cover letter.

The purpose of your cover letter is to complement your resume and LinkedIn profile to interest of the reader to want to read your resume and call your for an interview.  However, your resume and profile need to be strong enough to stand on their own to convey your value and your resume should not be dependent on a hiring manager having to read your cover letter for your resume or profile to make sense.

8. Cull your experience to focus on the last 15 years of your employment and remove or downplay any work experience prior to the 15 year mark.

Ensure you list relevant achievements for the applied role, and not everything you did just because you are proud of it. It is crucial that your resume list what is recent and relevant, or you can lose the interest of employers who may see your laundry list of achievements as overwhelming and irrelevant. Getting rid of the achievements that are not pertinent to the pursued role can give new life and renewed focus to the ones you leave on your resume and profile.

9. Treat yourself to the gift of hiring a professional resume writer to help you, if you do not have the desire, time or skills to do this resume or profile work yourself.

If you have all three points (skills, desire and time), then take these tips and run with it and improve your documents for the New Year. However, if you have only two of the three points needed to write your own resume and profile, chances are you will either not complete it in a timely manner or in a qualitative fashion—or both. An outside perspective can help you fully value what you do and give you a fresh outlook to frame your achievements optimally in a dynamic document that sells you authentically.

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