3 things to remember when updating your resume

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Category: Career Resources

Remember the Goal

The purpose of your cover letter and resume is to get you an interview. It is important that you think critically about the position for which you are applying and shape your resume to fit the needs of that position. Remember that you will be competing with other seasoned practitioners, and you need to ensure that your resume includes all the key components that will appeal to the search committee and hiring authority (specific details on responsibilities and accomplishments, professional association involvement, campus committees and leadership roles, publications and presentations, etc.)

Responsibilities vs. Accomplishments

Be sure you understand the difference between these two concepts. A responsibility is something that can be taken almost directly from your position description—it stays with you throughout your time in the position. An accomplishment is, by definition, something completed successfully—usually a concrete project or measurable assignment. Hiring authorities will have multiple candidates with similar responsibilities, and they often look for candidates who can demonstrate leadership skills in strategic planning, program development, and the ability to manage organizational change—accomplishments that go beyond day-to-day management responsibilities. Virtually every resume can be improved by listing key accomplishments in addition to major responsibilities.

Have at Least One Person Proofread for You!

Our own eyes cannot catch every comma, misspelling, and grammatical error. Rely on others for a final review.

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.