It’s a great time to look for a job but, unfortunately, many of us are sidelined by the mere thought of resume updating. It’s a daunting task and guaranteed to bring out the procrastinator in all of us. But you’re not going to get far in your search without a current resume, and the worst situation to find yourself in is casually looking at job openings, realizing one of them resonates with you, and then scrambling to complete your resume updating in a timely fashion.
Resume updating does not need to be overly stressful. Here are five tips to keep in mind before diving into the editing process.
Edit: Shorten your resume. While it is extremely tempting to include all of your accomplishments, employers are primarily interested in the last 7-10 years of your work history. This generally translates into a one-page or two-page resume. Be brutal with your editing when resume updating!
Age Bias: Bias based on a job candidate’s perceived age is an ongoing issue, even if in many cases employers are not aware they are engaging in it. Purging your resume of unnecessary indicators of age is a good practice but the inclusion of some dates — such as those related to education — is more of an art than a science and will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The best approach is to craft a resume that focuses on your achievements and valued qualities — which involves a heavy dose of the aforementioned editing. The objective is to present a well-balanced and compelling resume where age is secondary to fit.
Metrics: Focus on your accomplishments and not your responsibilities. Then, quantify your achievements as much as possible. This may include the size of the accounts you have worked on, the number of people you have managed, and the percent of time you completed your projects ahead of schedule. If you would like to familiarize yourself with various metrics, check out my recent post on quantifying achievements.
Formatting: When editing your resume, focus on the content. Then, when you are completely satisfied, format the content. Far too many people attempt to save time by editing a formatted resume. It’s an honest mistake, but attempting to stay within the formatted text locks you into outdated content. The best way to avoid that is to use the “paste special” command, which allows you to copy and paste unformatted text from your existing resume into a new document.
Proofread: Your resume should be the most over-proofread document you have ever worked on. You should have your grammar and spelling resources handy (do not rely solely on spell check) and enlist another person to read the draft strictly for proofreading purposes. Then, put it away for a day and proofread it again
Resume updating should not make you anxious! If you focus on the essentials outlined above, you will be rewarded with an engaging resume.