I am planning to begin looking for a new job in my field. I haven't updated my resume in eight years and don't have a clue how to begin. What should I do?
Writing your own resume is hard for most people to do. The style and format of resumes has definitely changed in the last eight years. The two most important elements of a good resume are your professional profile and bulleted accomplishments.
To elaborate – the first thing that someone who is reading your resume should see just below your name and contact information is a paragraph or two summarizing your career history, functional and industry expertise and some professional qualities you possess.
Next, list your employer's name and title with your dates of employment (without months) to the far right. Write a very brief description of what you actually do in your job and then think of three or four accomplishments you've achieved. Accomplishments should be written to describe the situation or problem, what you did to improve or solve it and how you made a difference in quantifiable terms (percentages, numbers, etc.) This is called a P-A-R formula (Problem – Action – Result).
Your educational and professional development credentials should be at the end of your resume. Your resume should be two pages and not include the antiquated statement, "references available upon request."
There are plenty of good books available on resume writing. One of my favorites is Resumes That Knock ‘Em Dead by Martin John Yate.