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The Easiest Way to Update Your Resume

It’s important that you always keep your resume up to date. Here are ResumeHelp’s best tips on what to focus on when you update your resume before sending it.

Donna Wright Profile
By Donna Wright 3 minute read

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Update Your Resume

If you are actively seeking a new job, then it’s probably time to update your resume. After all, your resume is a showcase of your most important and relevant skills, so it pays to make sure that it always contains the work experience, certifications, and achievements that best showcase your capabilities. But even if things haven’t changed, it’s important to update your resume for every job application. Here’s how to do it.

Why Do You Need to Update Your Resume?

Unless you are leaving a job title that you have held for a very short period of time (less than one year, for example), it is likely that you have gained experience, achievements, or new skills that are notable. Therefore, it is always a good idea to update your resume when you are leaving a long-term position. There are other good reasons for job seekers to update their professional resumes, of course, even if they are moving on from a very brief position. The best reasons to update your resume are:

  • To adjust it to suit a specific position or job description
  • To showcase the most relevant skills and achievements for the role you are applying for
  • To ensure that it is acceptable for applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan your resume
  • To make sure it looks modern and professional
    To support a career change
  • To ensure it matches an updated cover letter

These are some of the most common reasons for updating your resume regularly, but you really need only one: an up-to-date resume will make a good first impression on hiring managers and recruiters, making it more likely that you will land a job interview. Of course, your chance of success is linked directly to your resume writing skills.

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Tips for Updating an Old Resume

When it comes time to update an old resume for a new job search, there are a number of things to keep in mind. First and foremost, consider the resume template that you are currently using – is it modern, or does it look dated? No matter how up-to-date your resume work history and skills sections are, a dated design will put hiring managers off. Secondly, consider your resume summary and contact information. Is your contact information up-to-date? Have you included your most recent phone number and email details? Finally, consider the body of your resume – are all your skills and job titles present? Do you need to add a new section for internships or awards?

If you are in the middle of a career change, you should also consider changing your resume format. If you used to work in a very traditional field, like law, for example, but you are moving to a creative industry, then it may be beneficial to switch away from a professional resume format to a more creative one. Even if you are staying in the same kind of industry, a career change may make it better to switch to a functional resume format in order to compensate for your lack of experience.

When your resume is more than a year or two old, updating it can be more of an overhaul than a refining process. The ResumeHelp resume builder is a great tool for people who need to create a whole new look for their resume.

Tips for Updating a Resume You Made in the Last Year

If you recently updated your resume (for example, within the last one to two years), then it is likely that your format is still going to be perfectly acceptable. In these cases, it is more important to ensure that your resume writing skills are sharp and adjust the basis of your resume to suit the roles that you are applying for. If you tailor your resume and cover letter to suit each job posting that you apply for, then you will seriously increase your chances of making a great impression on potential employers. Here are the things you should be thinking about when updating your resume:

  • The details of the job descriptionYou should list the key skills, certifications, and experiences that best match the needs of the job you are applying for. For example, if you are moving up to a management position, you should focus on your leadership skills more than the interpersonal skills that are needed for customer-centric roles.
  • The keywords used in the job postingApplicant tracking systems are very common now. They assess resumes based on the presence or absence of certain keywords that tie in with the job description. Try to match your skills and experiences with those used in the job posting to ensure that your resume is ATS-friendly.
  • Transferable and supplementary skillsIn highly competitive markets, the shortlist for job interviews is often determined by supplementary and transferable skills or by additional, non-professional experience. If you have additional skills that will be useful to the role, or you have some non-professional experience that is relevant (for example, in an internship), then you should list this.
  • Passive vs. active languageMake sure that your resume takes ownership of the things that you have achieved in your career. Use action verbs to ensure that your work experience section doesn’t seem passive, and use numbers to define your achievements when possible. Instead of writing,
    “Was responsible for overhauling our rota.” (Passive)
    Created a new rota that reduced wasted man hours by 20%.” (Active)If you keep these things in mind when updating your resume, then you have a better chance of catching a hiring manager’s attention. Once you do, it’s important that you take the time to prepare for some of the most common job interview questions.
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FAQ: Updating Your Resume

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Ideally, you should tailor the details of your resume every time you apply for a new job. You should also update the appearance and format of your resume once every year or two to prevent it from becoming dated.

Many of the most common resume mistakes occur because job seekers do not proofread after changing individual sentences. These kinds of small tweaks can easily cause grammar and spelling mistakes which can be very off-putting for recruiters, so double-check your document before submitting.

A resume should be one page long unless you have a large amount of relevant experience or professional certifications that are required for the job title you are applying for. If you do have a lot of relevant or necessary experience and information and are applying for a more senior-level position, then you can expand your resume to two pages.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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