When was the last time you gave your resume an update? Six months ago? Six years ago? Ever??
Employers and their hiring managers are looking for resumes that contain keywords, top skills, and quantifiable achievements that are as up to date as possible. If you don’t have an updated resume, especially one that reflects your most recent skills and abilities, it might not get consideration from a hiring manager.
This blog post is a guide for updating your resume in 2023 in a manner that makes sense and isn’t time-consuming. We’ll also lead you in the right direction to catching the attention of hiring managers and recruiters with a strong resume update, making sure your skills and story are at the forefront.
Why should I keep my resume updated?
There are a few key reasons why you should keep your resume updated. The most important reason is that it ensures your resume is always up to date and reflects your most current skills and experiences. Additionally, keeping your resume updated, especially on websites like LinkedIn and Indeed, makes it easier for potential employers to find information about you, increasing the chances of getting hired.
Insight Global recruiters are constantly scouring LinkedIn, Indeed, our own internal resume database, and more in search of ideal candidates for positions. If your resumes aren’t updated in these places, you may be missing out on opportunities that match your most current skills and experience.
An updated resume is valuable for all job seekers, even if you are not actively looking for a new position. If an opportunity arises unexpectedly and your resume is up to date, it will be easier for you to apply immediately.
What should I update on my resume?
You may want to update several things on your resume, depending on what has changed since you last edited it. Some of the most common updates include:
- Adding new skills and experience
- Changing your job title or position
- Updating your contact information
- Making sure certifications are up to date
You also may want to change the style and formatting of your resume to give it a more modern and eye-popping look.
How often should I update my resume?
You should update your resume as often as necessary to ensure that it reflects your current skills and experiences. There is no set answer as to how often you should update your resume; it depends on a variety of factors such as how often you change jobs, what type of experience you gain, and when your last update was.
However, updating your resume at least once or twice a year is generally a good practice. You may need to do it more frequently if you’ve earned promotions, gained lots of new experiences, and/or changed jobs over the course of a year. When changing jobs, you’ll likely update your resume before applying to a position, and then update it again a couple months after you’ve gained experience in the new position.
How do I update my resume?
There are a few different ways that you can update your resume. One option is to rewrite your entire resume from scratch. This is probably necessary if you haven’t updated your resume in a couple years.
Another option is to make changes to specific sections of your resume. This is a lot more useful if you’re just adding a couple lines or a new section to your resume.
Some basic places to build and edit your resume include:
- Microsoft Word
- Google Docs
- Adobe Illustrator
All of these programs have resume templates, and you can tailor them to your style, job experience, and industry. You can also use the help of an online resume building software if you have the time and funds.
Whichever method you choose, make sure to export your resume as a PDF so that it looks professional and polished. You don’t want to send an editable document to a hiring manager or recruiter.
How can I make updating my resume easier?
There are a few techniques you can use to make the process of resume updating easier.
First, it is crucial to create an organized system for keeping track of your resumes. This could include saving all versions in one folder on your computer or printing off each version and storing them together in a binder/folder. Additionally, keep copies saved online with cloud storage services such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This protects against your computer crashing and losing the original editable files. You can also send these files in emails to yourself.
All of these methods make files easily accessible from any device so you have the most up-to-date information and documents whenever needed.
Finally, consider maintaining two separate job-seeking documents: one would be your more routine resume, and the other is a lengthier CV, which has a mix of job experience and heavy emphasis on education and coursework. Some companies prefer one or the other, but some may want to take a look at both. It doesn’t hurt to have two, and updating them at the same time with the same sort of experience should cross over pretty easily.
Tips for effectively updating your resume
A resume is an essential part of the job application process, and keeping it up-to-date can help you stand out from other applicants. By regularly updating your resume to stay relevant in today’s employment market, you will be able to increase your chances of getting hired with each new opportunity that arises.
Here are some tips for updating your resume effectively:
Add keywords specific to the position you’re after
Adding specific keywords to your resume will help ensure that the right people read it. If you’re targeting a specific position, research what keywords are associated with that role and add them to your resume. Doing so will make it easier for the hiring manager to find you.
For example, if you’re applying for a Project Manager position that requires three-plus years of experience with Agile, a project-management platform, make sure to highlight your past experience with that platform (or another similar to it) over a certain time frame.
Remove irrelevant experience
If you have a lot of experience, it can be tempting to include all of it on your resume. However, if some of your experience is irrelevant to the position you’re applying for, it’s best to remove this information. You may have been an amazing customer service manager at a grocery store through college, but if you’re 10 years into your career as an IT consultant, your customer experience might not be as relevant for higher-level jobs.
Deleting some of this past irrelevant experience will give you the room to show off the skills and experience that are most relevant to your target position.
Keep your experience and skills specific and concise
Your resume should be a quick snapshot of your skills and experiences. Try to limit the bullet points under each job position at three or four bullets.
Add measurable results/accomplishments
Being able to back up your success claims with measurable results or accomplishments is a great way to show that you’re a good employee. Be sure to include specific numbers and figures whenever possible so that hiring managers know exactly what you’ve accomplished.
For example, highlight that, rather than just “increased sales,” you’ve increased sales by 45% over a five-month period since you became the manager of a sales team.
Update your education section
If you’ve recently completed a course or degree, update your education section on your resume. Include the program’s name, the dates attended, and any notable achievements. If you’re decades removed from any educational accomplishments to list, consider removing this section from your resume. Instead, highlight certifications and awards you’ve earned over your professional career.
Remove outdated/irrelevant info
Similar to shaving off any irrelevant experience, it’s important that the rest of the information on your resume is as up-to-date and relevant as possible. Outside of experience, some things you may want to remove from a resume include:
- A fax and home phone number (your cell phone number works best as a primary piece of contact information)
- Any certifications that are no longer used or current
- A job summary/objective section (most companies care most about experiences and skills)
- A list of references (this can be a separate document sent to hiring mangers and recruiters)
- Personal information (age, race, sex, and other identifiers like that can cause bias, even though employers aren’t allowed to discriminate)
- A photo of yourself (learn why you shouldn’t include this!)
You want all the time someone spends looking at your resume focused on your relevant experience. Any time spent looking at stuff that is irrelevant, outdated, or just plain unnecessary is taking away from what really matters.
Optimize your resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
Always make sure your resume is optimized for Applicant Tracking Systems.
An ATS allows hiring managers a recruiters to quickly sort through resumes based on keywords, layout, and other factors. In an ideal world, hiring managers would have time to look at every resume that comes in for a job applications, but ATSs are used to help ease the burden. Make sure your resumes are cultivated with this kind of process in mind (like we discussed before with adding keywords for the specific job position you’re applying to).
Enhance your resume with powerful action words
Action words will make your resume stand out against other candidates who might use run-of-the-mill wording on their resumes. To do this effectively, you can go through each section of your resume (education, experience, etc.) and remove any passive sentences.
Here is an example of a passive sentence versus a powerful, action-filled sentence:
Passive sentence: The company’s sales grew by 30% after I became sales manager.
Action sentence: I helped grow the company’s net sales by 30% over a six-month period as sales manager.
In the first sentence, the sales growth just happened to the company. In the second sentence, you were a specific reason for that growth.
Make your resume is easily readable
A hiring manager will typically spend no more than a minute or two looking at your resume. It is essential to make sure your resume is easy on the eyes of whoever reads it.
Resume design is not as important as the content, but it can hurt you by distracting from your core experiences. This means making your font the right size and formatting sections so that they are not overwhelming for the recruiter or hiring manager. You also want to make sure your resume is easily readable and flows with the reader’s eyes.
Consider the following questions when thinking of resume design:
- Are images or colors overpowering your message?
- Is your background color clashing with the text?
- Are your indents for experience and skills extreme or not indented enough?
- Are your job titles and resume sections easily identifiable?
- Does your format help make your resume readable and sell your skills and experience?
All in all, you want your resume to land it at one page. Your format should help accomplish that, too.
Consider a resume makeover
If you’ve tried the tips above and are still not happy with how your resume looks, it might be time to invest in a resume makeover.
As we mentioned before, you can hire a professional resume designer to accomplish this, but you can also just start from scratch. This is certainly more time consuming, but if you find you’re editing every section of your resume, it may be better to start from square one.
Proofread your resume
It might sound obvious, but have a friend or family member proofread your resume for grammar and spelling errors. Typos and poor/inconsistent grammar can look unprofessional and scattered. Before sending it out to hiring managers and recruiters, triple-check the document for errors and fix them.
What should I keep in mind when finishing my resume updates?
There are a few essential things to consider when updating your resume.
It can be tempting to include all the skills and experiences from previous jobs on your current resume, but this causes clutter and takes away from the core experiences and skills you want to reflect in resume updates.
Make sure that all the information on your resume is current and accurate. This includes contact information, job titles, dates of employment, etc. Keeping this information pertinent allows potential employers to scan your resume and see what you offer them quickly.
We’ve covered tips on how to effectively update your resume to catch a potential employer’s attention. Following a few simple guidelines will help you write an impressive document that gives you a better chance of catching the attention of a recruiter.
Take advantage of keywords when describing soft skills, education, work experience, and awards. Align your resume with the job duties and get more responses. Be honest about all gaps or changes in professional history. Also, don’t forget to use action words like managed instead of oversaw; highlight accomplishments rather than tasks completed.
It may seem like common sense, but this type of detail-oriented thinking goes a long way towards your success in the job market. Check out Insight Global’s job board if you’re looking for a job, and we’ll connect you with companies across North America!