The Top 5: Tips to Update Your Resume
Tips from the trenches to keep your copier career on track
Is Your Resume Outdated?
Whether you’re preparing for an interview, applying to a position or just open to opportunities, it’s important to have your resume looking good and up-to-date. Use these tips to update your resume and stand out from the competition:
1. Include your contact info. This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised what people will forget sometimes. Your resume must include your name, city, state, cell number and email address. Make sure this information is current – double check your email address and phone number, in particular. You should also consider including your LinkedIn address but do not forget to make sure it is also up-to-date and is consistent with your official resume. Other social media links should only be included if they are relevant to the position and portray you in a flattering, professional light.
2. Swap out the Objective Statement. If you haven’t updated your resume in some time, you’ll need to remove some parts that have fallen out of favor. The “Objective Statement” is a major offender. Don’t waste space stating the obvious – your objective is to get the job, it’s implied by your application. Instead, open your resume with a “Performance Summary” that sells the employer on what you can do for them. Break down a short summary of your top skills, accomplishments, certifications, etc. into bullet points, focusing on industry keywords (especially ones used in the job posting).
Keywords are especially important for getting past pre-screening software (more on that later) so be sure to use them here and throughout your resume. Sales reps might emphasize B2B or inside sales experience, techs might specify OEM certification, office support might refer to software experience, management might highlight profit/loss responsibility, etc.
3. Cut the References. Similarly, the “References” section should be removed altogether. First off, most employers simply aren’t calling references anymore. Secondly, your resume needs to be short and to the point – you just can’t spare the space. Replacing this section with “references available upon request” was an accepted compromise for many years, however, it is no longer considered necessary. Hiring managers who intend to call your references know they can you ask for them. To be safe, prepare a reference list in a separate document so you can respond quickly if they make this request.
4. Keep it relevant. Your resume should be crafted for the specific job you’re applying for – do not waste space on experience or accomplishments that don’t demonstrate your suitability and utility as an employee. For irrelevant positions, simply list the company name, your job title, employment dates and move on. Experience that is more than 15 years old should be similarly compressed or removed altogether – the workplace is changing quickly so it’s better to emphasize your more recent and, thus, most relevant experience. Similarly, do not include personal information such as your marital status, number of children, hobbies, religion, etc. Stick to your professional information only – you’ll get a chance to make a personal impression once you land the interview.
5. Format for modern usage. People who look at resumes all day can tell a lot about you based on your resume’s formatting. For example, if your entire resume is in ALL CAPS they’re going to assume you know very little about computers/the internet since this practice is almost universally reviled. Use all caps sparingly, if at all – acceptable uses are in your contact information and section headings. Similarly, if you use a goofy font like Comic Sans or Papyrus, you will seem extremely amateurish. Stick to modern and easy-to-read fonts like Arial, Calibri, Cambria or Helvetica. Once you’ve picked a font, stick to it – leave artful font-mixing to the professionals. Use all other formatting sparingly but consistently. If you decide to bold your job title, then you must bold all your job titles. If you underline a section heading, then you must underline all section headings. Your formatting should make your resume easy to read and navigate, emphasizing your most significant points.
But don’t take your formatting too far! Increasingly often, your resume will be processed by a pre-screening software before it even makes it to the hiring manager. Do not make the mistake of formatting your resume simply so it looks good on paper. Using text boxes to position your text ‘just so,’ inserting special images, using a custom font, etc. can sometimes create an untranslatable scramble of text and symbols that will send your beautiful resume straight to the trash bin. Be safe, keep it simple and clean. This will give you more time to focus on crafting your text – remember to use relevant industry keywords that the software might be looking for.