Keeping your resume up-to-date is an important part of looking for a new job; but let's face it, it's fairly time intensive and it can be difficult to know where to start. If your resume is in need of a refresher, take a look at these tips below. You may find that you don't need a complete do-over, but rather a quick update. (For more, check out 6 Resume Must-Haves.)
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1. Edit Excess Writing
It's tempting to add lots of verbiage to your resume to make your work sound more impressive. But that's a mistake. Keeping your content clear and concise is always best. If you haven't read through your resume in a while, take a look at each section and pick out the phrases or wording that isn't clear or doesn't communicate anything.
Most employers receive plenty of resumes for each job opening, so don't make them reread yours so that they understand what it says. They probably won't do it.
2. Update Your Achievements and Skills
This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you've been in your current position for a while, or you've been out of work for a while, it's easy to forget some of the important details. Think back to when you started the position and how it's changed since you started. How have your responsibilities grown? Have you won any awards with your work? Did you receive a promotion?
Don't just list your daily tasks, but rather look at your actual responsibilities and what you've accomplished. Discard old information that isn't relevant and add achievements that you've accomplished while at the job, or skills that you've had to learn to make the job more efficient.
If you're the type of person who doesn't give themselves enough credit, ask a trusted co-worker or friend that knows what you've done at the job to help you. An outside perspective can help you remember things you may have forgotten. (To improve your skills, read 6 High-Value Skills That Will Supplement Your Career.)
3. Change Passive to Active
When you write your resume, you need to ditch the passive voice and use an active one. What does this mean? Here's an example of a hypothetical passive resume sentence: "Was a part of a major website redesign team." Although it's true, it's boring and doesn't convey that you did much on that team. A better sentence would be something like: "Worked with fellow co-workers to redesign company website."
Read through the responsibilities you currently have in your resume and revamp the sentences that are passive.
4. Update Technology References
OK, so your achievements and skills are up-to-date, but what about your computer skills? Have you updated those? Each job will have their own technology skill requirements, or some may not have any at all, so you'll have to decide which ones are best to list. Just be sure to delete old technology that no one uses anymore (remember PerfectWorks?).
This goes for your email address as well. If you're still using your "firstname.lastname@example.org" email address from high school, then it's time to update it. Use your name as the address whenever possible, as in "email@example.com."
If you're using an email provider like AOL for your account, consider using a more updated provider such as Google's Gmail, or purchase a domain so your email address is the same as your name. Old providers can make you appear out of touch with technology.
5. Share It
This is technically a refresher tip, but it's just as important. Let your friends and family know you're looking for a job, and tell co-workers who won't spill the beans that you're looking.
Save your resume in several different formats to make it easier to send out. Some employers may want Word documents, others may prefer a PDF and some will want you to copy and paste it to their site. Keep a clear format version of your resume that can be easily copied and pasted into a website program. Take out bullet points, bolding, numbers and special characters that may cause formatting problems in other file types.
The Bottom Line
No matter what type of work you do, refresh your resume regularly so that it's always ready to go. Frequent refreshes will save a lot of time later when you're ready to send it out. If you've already updated your resume, give it to some people you trust for a critique. They might catch something you've missed. (For further assistance with your resume, read 5 Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out.)