Is Your Resume “Old News”? Think Resume Update

It’s the start of a new year, and you probably have a list of things you need or want to do. Looking at your resume might not be one of them unless you’re on the verge of launching a serious job search. (Some people don’t do it even then, although they should!)

The fact is, any point at which you’re not in or planning a near-term job search is an excellent time to haul out your existing resume and dust off the cobwebs. For one thing, you can do it without the added pressure that a full-blown job search exerts. That means you can give careful thought to the present condition of your resume, consider what might have changed since you last updated it, and take steps to refresh it.

5 Key Points to Consider for a Resume Update

  1. How long ago did you last do a resume update? If it was less than a year, you probably don’t need a complete overhaul. However, anything new that has happened since then, particularly if it has expanded your list of accomplishments, belongs in the resume. Why wait until later to put it there?
  2. If the last update was more than a year ago, has anything significant changed that really should be taken care of? For example, if your job title or scope of responsibility is different, you could be missing a bet by not adjusting your resume accordingly. It might increase your chances of landing the next big job opportunity when the time comes.
  3. Deadwood often needs to be pruned to make a tree healthy and more attractive. The same holds true for your resume. It’s not just that you don’t want to end up with a 6-page resume (you don’t!), but also you don’t want to advertise to potential employers that you’re either stuck in the past or not interested in moving forward in your career.
  4. Even if you had a great resume 5 years ago, times have probably changed since then. The language (wording) you used back then might be considered obsolete, out of date, or otherwise “old hat.” And if you don’t know what that last phrase means, look it up 🙂 .
  5. If you’ve moved in a new direction since your last resume update, the resume needs to reflect that new direction, including any significant changes in the nature or level of your responsibilities, as well as what you might have accomplished in that new area.

Does Your Resume Shout Value to Employers?

Well, no, your resume doesn’t exactly have to shout anything. However, it does need to make your unique value so clear that busy employers can’t possibly miss it in a quick scan–which is about all you can count on with that first look. It has to cause what I call the “eyebrow raising” moment. You know, where the employer goes, “Hey! Maybe we should talk to this person! He/she could be just what we’re looking for.”

If your existing resume doesn’t do that–whether it was last updated 5 years ago or 5 months ago, you have a different challenge: what do you need to do to make that raised-eyebrow reaction happen? For the purposes of this post, though, I suggest that you think in terms of doing a resume update that also (not coincidentally) sharpens your value-added message to employers. That way, your resume won’t be mistaken for “old news” that an employer can afford to skip over. And isn’t that what you want?

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