Updating your resume is a necessary task every time you’re planning on working somewhere new. This isn’t always easy, especially if you have been either out of the workforce or in the same position for a long period of time. Technology has changed things significantly, so we’re here to catch you up. Fortunately, making only a few resume tweaks can make all the difference and makes updating your resume easy and simple.
You don’t have much time to get a hiring manager’s attention! According to TheLadders.com, your resume gets about 6 seconds of attention. You need to make sure that this first impression of you is accurate. Make sure it’s the most important information first! Keep it related to the industry you’re applying to.
7 Easy Ways to Update Your Resume Fast
- Make the Best First Impression
- Update Your Skills Section
- Toss the Snail Mail and Put a Professional Email Address Instead
- Swap out Your Objective for a Summary
- Make it easy to scan
- Use keywords from the job posting
- Make sure it’s saved accurately
1. Make the Best First Impression
Make sure that your resume starts with your most recent position! It’s called the reverse chronological resume, but it’s the standard. Starting with the first job you’ve ever had from ten years ago can cost you the position. If it isn’t clear what you have been up to recently, then it’s often assumed that you haven’t been doing anything.
Just like no one will want to interview someone who is rumpled and unclean, no one will want to deal with a messy resume. Clean up the look with appropriate margins. Make sure that while your resume is interesting, it’s also spaced out appropriately. Typically one-inch margins on each side are standard. If you have too much white space, you may want to consider expanding your line-height instead to 1.15 or 1.5.
Choose a clean-looking and professional font. Times New Roman is now overused and easily ignored. Choose something like Garamond, Cambria, Helvetica, or Georgia. All of them are easy to read, print cleanly, and look sleek. Choosing a font that is easy to read makes sense for all those times you have to upload it to online job boards.
While you’re focusing on the look of it all, make sure to remove any dated phrases that have aged out. That includes any outdated software or outdated skills that make it seem like you’re behind the times.
2. Update Your Skills Section
Updating your resume is more than changing the font! If it’s been awhile since you rewrote your resume, it may be time to revisit what you’ve learned since then. Have you taken a class? Learned any new computer skills? Have you learned how to work remotely or taken on any extra assignments at work? Trained a coworker? How about your soft skills like time management or adapting to difficult situations? Adding certain skills can help you stand out from the crowd.
3. Toss the Snail Mail and Put Professional Email Address Instead
Make sure your phone number and email address are up to date, but be sure to wipe your physical address off. In this era of technology, there is no reason to include your physical address unless you’re still mailing physical copies of your resume out – and here’s hoping that you aren’t! Hiring managers and recruiters will need a town and a zip code in order to make sure you can handle the commute. There is no reason to include your post office box or physical address. Don’t give out more information than you need to!
Keep that email address professional! Contacting someone using “firstname.lastname@example.org” doesn’t come off like a serious job applicant. Most email servers will let you connect a more professional one “email@example.com” to your original one, assuming you’re staying loyal to the same email server. If you can’t picture changing your main email address, then connect a professional one to your main one. If they both have the same email server (Gmail, Yahoo, etc) then they can be connected. Once connected, your main email address will alert you if you get mail at the other address and can forward it on. You can set it up once and have it working constantly. This way the email address on your resume won’t embarrass you professionally and you can keep using your original email address.
4. Swap out Your Objective for a Summary
Instead of wasting time telling everyone your career goals, use that valuable space for highlighting what the hiring manager should notice on your resume. Everyone’s goal is to get an interview, so it’s not useful to state that you need a job.
5. Make it Easy to Scan
Try using bullet points! Removing your paragraphs and condensing them to bullet points instead automatically updates your resume so it’s easy to read. When writing your job description, you can easily clean up whole paragraphs by making bullet points instead. Posting just your achievements in bullet points is not only easier for hiring managers to quickly scan, but also gets right to the point.
If bullet points won’t work, try a graph or chart. Your resume needs to stand out in a wide field of resumes! This is particularly true if you’re up against many other resumes or if you don’t know how many other people are applying for the same position. Yours needs to be interesting!
Whatever you do, keep it consistent throughout the entire resume. If one job title is in bold, then they all should be. Using bullet points at one job description? Use bullet points on all of them. You’ll have a clean resume that’s easy to read.
6. Use Keywords From the Job Posting
After you apply for a position online, it then goes to the company’s computer program where it searches for the keywords that were in the job posting. It’s looking for the exact words. Words that are similar won’t matter. Resumes that don’t have the exact words are then discarded – before a person ever sees them. That’s right! You could be applying for job after job without a human being ever seeing your resume. You can stop that from happening by adding those keywords to your resume! If they use the words “customer service”, then so do you! If the job description lists a specific kind of computer program used for a specific industry and you used that program, make sure to put that on your resume! Sure, maybe a human being in your industry would assume that you’ve used it, but you have to get past the computer first! Make sure your resume gets past the ATS.
7. Make Sure it’s Saved Accurately
Your resume is going to be one of a million, so it has to be one IN a million! That hiring manager that gets your updated resume is going to get a bunch of others as well, so make sure you use every chance you get to be memorable. One fast and easy way to make sure they know who YOU are is to save your resume as anything other than “resume.doc”. Everyone else’s is called that, too, and you don’t want to be mistaken for everyone else! When saving your updated resume to your computer, change the title to your full name and the word resume, such as MarySmithResume.doc. You’d be surprised how that small change can keep your name in the hiring manager’s thoughts!
Related relevant reads: