Updating my resume is quite possibly my least favorite activity on the planet. I’m serious, the dread that overwhelms me every time I think about it can’t be understated and I really don’t know why. Anyway, two of my previous supervisors recently left my company and both impressed upon me the importance of keeping a current resume. In fact, they were shocked when I told them I hadn’t updated the damn thing since I was hired almost six years ago!
Now let me preface this by saying that their advice wasn’t out of some notion about me losing my job. Instead, their point was that it was my responsibility – as a modern woman in the workplace – to be prepared should a different opportunity present itself. I really couldn’t argue.
After a few weeks of procrastination, I eventually set to work and am actually really pleased with my new and improved resume. Here are six tips that made the process a lot easier for me and I hope they inspire you to update your resume, too!
1. Research yourself. Go through old notebooks, meeting agendas, presentation decks, Outlook calendars – anything that will remind you what you worked on during your tenure. Memories fade and I found myself too often saying “oh yeah, I forgot about that!”
2. Research your current job. Search job postings similar to your current job title and you might see new, creative ways to describe your day-to-day responsibilities. I also found this helpful for remembering tools and platforms that I have experience using. The LinkedIn Jobs search is a great place to start.
3. Research your dream job. This step is about making sure you identify key phrases, industry buzz words, responsibilities, or technologies that might catch the eye of a recruiter. This is also a great way to figure out what new skills you might need to learn or brush up on to land that next dream job.
4. Get creative. Just because you’ve used the same standard layout since college, doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. For example, I added a short introductory paragraph summarizing my soft skills and other experience that wasn’t obvious otherwise. Maybe try utilizing some graphic design concepts such as line dividers or shaded boxes. Another creative option could be to emphasize major accomplishments rather than focusing only on the work history basics like dates, location, and title. Finally, consider adding a keywords box to make your skillsets really stand out.
5. Revise your contact info. It’s all about the online presence. Be sure to include your (work appropriate) personal email and the URL to your LinkedIn profile. If you work in tech, maybe add a link to your GitHub account. If you’re a creative, definitely include a link to your online portfolio. Also, delete that mailing address. No need to make it easier for potential identity thieves to find your details.
6. Ask for help. I’ve received the best feedback and suggestions from co-workers and former bosses. It can be hard to evaluate ourselves, but colleagues or mentors can often offer a well-rounded picture of our accomplishments and responsibilities. More importantly, having plenty of reviewers will help you avoid any dreaded spelling errors and typos so don’t be shy!
Have additional tips on updating resumes? Please share them in the comments!