National Resume Update Month
September is National Resume Update Month, so why not celebrate by getting a job, changing jobs, or picking up a second or third job? Often, getting a new job requires a resume. Putting one together is not usually that much fun, but the library can help.
First, we have lots of books, probably something for every type of job seeker. For example, there’s The Everything Resume Book, Gallery of Best Resumes for People Without a Four-Year Degree and Resumes for Dummies. Any of these books will give you the basics, but you might find it helpful to look at several because of the various samples they provide for people looking for different kinds of jobs (nanny, computer programmer, musician) or with special situations (overqualified, military-to-civilian, too many layoffs).
You can create your resume using Microsoft Word 2007 on the Library’s desktop and laptop computers, print copies, or upload them directly to the companies you’re targeting. Microsoft Word provides templates that can make formatting your job-search documents a little easier.
If using Microsoft Word sounds stressful, the Library also offers a useful online program that will format a professional resume for you via the Testing & Education Reference Center. (From our home page, click eLibrary, and then go to Job Search.) The software will ask you questions about your education, experience, and certifications etc., and format an attractive resume that you can download and revise as needed.
If you Google “free resumes,” you’ll find many websites that let you type in your contact information and work history. However, not all of them will allow you to print or save those resumes for free. Monster.com is one site that will allow you to download, edit, and print a resume without charge. The process is similar to using the Testing & Education Reference Center through the Library website.
A resume without a cover letter is like peanut butter without jelly. The Library has many books on creating a dynamic letter to accompany your resume to its final destination. (Many books, of course, give advice both on resumes and on cover letters.) Some titles include 7 Minute Cover Letters, Knock ‘em Dead Cover Letters, and How to Write Better Résumés and Cover Letters.
You can find a variety of cover-letter samples on the Internet for inspiration, even if your job-search circumstances are unusual (e.g., you really don’t want your current boss to know you’re looking for another job; you need to explain a period of unemployment). Some sites I liked were Susan Ireland’s Resume Site and The Balance Free Cover Letter Examples and Writing Tips. Just remember to personalize your letter, because it’s the kiss of death to a hiring manager to see identical letters from two different people. (Another kiss of death is to address your letter to someone who hasn’t worked for the company in a long time.)
I hope that National Update Your Resume Month has inspired you to celebrate by getting out there with your new job applications. If you don’t get around to it, though, that’s okay, because every month has something special to celebrate. October, which is just around the corner, for example, is Bat Appreciation Month.