Originally authored by April Klimkiewicz at Bliss Evolution
Don’t wait for a new and better job opportunity to present itself before you scramble to update your resume!
This is usually when my clients come back to me looking to update their resumes. The phone calls and emails all strike the same tone: I need this resume updated, and I needed it updated yesterday! You don’t need to put this unnecessary stress on yourself.
Updating more than just your work history is critically important if you haven’t given your resume much attention over the last few years. The modern job search has changed drastically, even within the last five years, and updating your resume to meet current trends will help you in more ways than one.
These eight painless ways to update your resume will help you stand out from the (likely) hundreds of other applicants applying for the same jobs and show employers that you’re a forward-thinking professional.
1 | Update Your Email Address
While updating your contact information is an obvious task if you’ve recently moved or changed phone numbers, updating your email address may not seem like a critically important tasks. It may be if you’ve had the same unprofessional email address since high school.
It may also be critically important to update your email address if you’re still using an aol.com or yahoo.com email address. These are commonly outdated email carriers that may draw more attention to your age than you’d like. Gmail and Outlook email addresses are more modern and free.
2 | Nix That Self-serving Objective Statement
An Objective Statement expressing your career goals or a Career Summary that simply summarizes your skills and experience doesn’t accomplish anything to your advantage. These self-serving introductions are ineffective and outdated, so nix them altogether and start your resume with a Branding Statement that presents you as the best fit for the job.
A Branding Statement introduces your qualifications, highlights your most valuable skills that relate to the job, and showcases the unique value you offer or results you will generate for the employer. A Branding Statement connects the dots between the company’s mission and vision, the primary goals of the role you’re applying for, and what you have to offer.
3 | Make Your Achievements Easier To Find
Statistically, corporate recruiters and HR teams will spend less than 15 seconds (I’m being generous; some sources say less than six seconds…) skimming your resume before deciding if you will be selected for an interview. If your resume is organized in a way that forces the reader to spend more than 15 seconds to find the details they’re looking for, your resume may be tossed out.
Instead of using long blocks of text or long lists of bullets, use bullets selectively to draw attention to your achievements or major contributions toward company goals. These are the details that matter the most.
4 | Draw Less Attention To Your Age
If your resume lists dates prior to 2005, then you’re drawing less attention to your qualifications and more attention to your age. You should also remove any mention of your high school, your college graduation dates unless you graduated within the last five years, and outdated software skills.
If the thought of cutting your career in half is causing you anxiety, try to look at your resume from an employer’s perspective. More experienced candidates will likely expect a higher salary, so a younger candidate may be a safer bet. Age discrimination is a serious career-advancing threat that you can eliminate by choosing to focus on your last 10-15 years.
5 | Add Some Personality With Color
Applicant Tracking software, the software employers use to collect resumes and narrow down candidates, is more advanced than the outdated articles online are giving them credit for. You don’t have to worry so much about formatting your resume. Applicant Tracking software doesn’t care about bold, underlined, italicized, colored, or color-filled text.
So use conservative color to show off a bit of your personality! You can (and should!) add color to your name, section headings, and other design elements to stand out from the figurative stack of black-and-white resumes without being flagged by employer software.
6 | Replace Less Relevant or Outdated Skills
If you haven’t updated your resume in a while, you likely have outdated skills that need replacing. Remove any buzzwords, or negative keywords, that should be evident in your experience such as:
+ Team player
+ Go-to person
+ Hard worker
Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job right now, you should search for job postings to see how employers are describing the skills and experience you have. When you are actively searching for a job, make sure you’re replacing skills in your resume with the terminology used by the company in the job posting.
7 | Add Job-related Training
Showing advancement through your career is important but not always possible. Keeping your skills fresh and up-to-date through job shadowing, on-the-job training, and online courses can show your commitment to professional development. These are details you should also be adding to your resume.
There are several credible websites offering affordable courses for a wide variety of topics including Udemy, Lynda, and Coursera.
8 | Target Your Resume For Each Job
Broad resumes just don’t work anymore, especially if you’re applying to jobs online. If you’re not targeting your resume for every job application, you’re likely slowing down your job search unnecessarily. Here are a few strategies to quickly and easily target your resume:
+ At the top of your resume, add and adjust a Resume Title that reflects the job title you are applying for.
+ Rework your Branding Statement to address the main goals of the company or the job you are applying for.
+ Replace less relevant skills with keywords listed in the job postings (as mentioned above).
+ Adjust your job summaries in your Experience section to focus on the skills and experiences that are more relevant to your job target.