What is a Living Resume?

The term “living resume” does not mean a living being, it refers to an updated version of your resume. It is critical that you constantly update your resume with a new job position or add in the new organization you joined. Many people have the habit of typing up a new resume every time they need to apply to something. 

Why not make it easier on yourself and constantly update the same document? Imagine being out of college for 5 or 10 years or so and having to analyze and remember all your past accomplishments from when you were at university. That’s something that you definitely want to avoid to save your future self that kind of trouble when upgrading your resume to show off for a new job opportunity.

It is so important that you keep track or record of all the awards, scholarships, and experiences you’ve had. It is even recommended for parents to start their children’s resumes early in their life. Sadly, we are often far too busy to even think about keeping track of every single thing we’ve ever accomplished. Don’t get me wrong this is not an easy task, but it is well worth it in the future.

First Step of Creating a Living Resume

Personally, I keep a separate document of all the positions, activities, and awards I’ve received. When I need to send out my resume or update it, I look through that document and what an employer is looking for in the qualifications section. Everyone has a different system it’s really what you are are comfortable with and how organized you are wanting to be.

If you can, try to keep your job descriptions from all your work experiences, or make a note of every single thing you do at your position. This will then help you to write out your statements in your experience section. You must also assure that you portray the skills that are needed for your desired position. To understand what is relevant and what isn’t for a particular resume, make sure that you are well aware of what an employer is looking for. When applying to a new position, review, edit and get a second look at your resume. It is important to tailor your resume to the position you are applying to. What I mean by tailoring; it is to make sure that your experiences and accomplishments are related and can portray the necessary skills and employer is seeking in an employee.

So What is a Resume?

Your resume should be a recollection of your experiences, accomplishments, as well as some personal information. Resumes contain several main sections: a heading, introduction section, education, experience, certifications, involvement. These are the most common sections of a resume, but all resumes are different depending on the person, their experiences, and education. As important it is to know what should be included in your resume it is just as important to know what not to include in a resume when it comes to formatting and tailoring. 

Keeping up with a living resume makes the process of putting a resume together with the different sections a lot easier and much less hectic.

Main Sections of a Resume

The heading is very important because you put down basic contact information such as y
our email, mailing address, phone number. It is also imperative to have your name stand out so when employers look through your resume you have a higher chance of them remembering you.

It will surprise you how many students actually forget one of their biggest assets on their resumes. Yes, I am talking about education. Make sure that you are putting down your current degree or past earned degrees. It is so important to write out your official degree title, the name of your school and the location. Assure that you also put your anticipated graduation month and year next to your degree so that employers can be aware of when they could offer you a full-time position.  

The experience section, in my opinion, is the most important and also the most time-consuming part of a resume. Your experience can vary from work, related (experiences in your field of study), involvement, special projects. Any sort of international experience is also important to include in your resume because it can set you apart from other applicants in many cases. If you don’t know how to incorporate international experience there are blogs and articles that guide you through that. Students are always a bit confused on how to really set this section up. It is so important that you make your formatting consistent throughout all your experiences.

In the experience section, students have a tendency to list out the skills they learned at their position or the experience listed in the initial job description. Ultimately, it’s not about listing skills such as “good communication skills” under your experience, it is more about portraying certain transferable skills through elaborate statements. What I am referring to is that, the examples that you list under experiences will allow you to show what skills you have developed in that position. Just writing out skills such as “great customer service skills”  without proper examples, will not show employers how you have that skill and how much time you invested into your resume.

Employers on average look at resumes for 5-30 seconds and that’s even if it’s an actual human reviewing your resume.  Take as much time possible to develop this section carefully. The experience section is critical and can set you apart from other applicants if you focus on formatting and content.

Involvement is another section that many add on their resume. Not every ambitious college woman has had the opportunity to have a part-time position or an internship, but your campus involvement will prevent you from having an “empty resume.” If you’ve held leadership positions in your organization or are involved in an organization related to your field, this can also set you apart. If this is the case, you can format your leadership position as your position at a job on your resume. From there, you also have the opportunity to set up your statements and portray your skills.

There is more to a resume than just sections?

The purpose of a resume is not to get the job, but to obtain that interview. Resumes aren’t only used to apply to full-time positions but also internships that can lead to a full-time position. Internships are very important and sometimes help set up the path to your career. The first step is to get an interview and from there, you have the possibility of getting the job.  It is very critical to research and to learn more in depth about resumes because it is one of the ways that you show employers a summary of your qualifications other than with your elevator pitch. Make your life easier and keep your resume alive–trust me you will not regret it!

About the Author

Tanya Moreno is an International Business major junior at Stephen F. Austin State University. Her interests are travel, writing blogs, and anything dance related. She also loves keeping herself busy at school!

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