It’s fair to say that nobody likes updating their resume. Rusty job seekers wait until the very last minute before making any changes – putting it off for months, even years, until they’re absolutely certain they’ll be re-entering the job market. However, this prolonged hesitation and dread over a simple document always has negative side effects on your job search. Hasty edits only lead to poor quality and potential errors, and the sobering reality is that an outdated or inaccurate resume can cost you countless job opportunities.
Instead of ignoring your old-fashioned and out of date resume for “just one more day,” grab a quick cup of coffee and sit down at your computer (no typewriters!) Let’s make some changes and get your resume back on fast track.
- Find your old resume: Chances are, you already have the foundation of a great resume. You just need to replace a few nuts and bolts and put a fresh coat of paint on everything – make it new again. If you were satisfied with the basic format of your previous resume, locate the document and start replacing and updating the out-of-date information. For example…
- Check your personal information: Have you moved since your last job? Changed your phone number or email address? These basic facts are crucial for initial contact – how will recruiters and hiring managers get in touch with you if they want to set up an interview? Providing false or inaccurate contact information will only get your resume sent to the bottom of their pile.
- Add social profiles: Chances are that the last time you updated your resume, LinkedIn was just a twinkle in Reid Hoffman’s eye. Make sure that you include spelled out social networking profiles like LinkedIn and even Twitter (if you are active AND professional.) Spell out the URL for a printed resume, hyperlink the social profile in your electronic version. If you don’t know how to hyperlink, ask someone that does.
- Add in your most recent job: For whatever reason you left your last job, you will need to provide information on any accomplishments and skills you developed there. As a rule, don’t think of previous jobs in terms of responsibilities and day-to-day tasks – focus on the value you added or the goals you achieved from working on such tasks. Remember that your most recent job is the most important – recruiters and employers will focus most on that – so make sure it is fleshed out, highlighted, and shows your most recent accomplishments and skills.
- Search for the most recent industry keywords: Using Google, look up your most recent job title and the titles of careers you might be heading into. Identify current terminology and skill requirements that might have changed since your last resume update. Integrate these fresh keywords into your resume. Don’t overdo it, but the right keywords in your resume have a high probability of matching you with the kind of opportunities you’re looking for. By looking at job descriptions that you want to have, you will be able to see what employers are looking for – frame your resume in the context of these current desired skills.
Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, it’s a good idea to always have a freshly updated copy of your resume on hand (you never know.) If you are looking for a job actively, you really should have multiple resumes with different variations, individualized for particular jobs that you are trying for. Having a great resume is only the first step to getting a job, but it’s the most important to get you that initial first interview. Good luck out there!