If you are like most, you probably have not thought much about your resume since it was written. I am sure you spent considerable time creating the best document that represents your career. You may have even had others read your resume, incorporating their feedback prior to considering it finished.
Most likely, however, some time has passed since this task was completed. If you have been gainfully employed, it may even have been a few years. If you have been looking for employment during this time, then you may ask yourself why you have not landed your desired position and whether your resume is holding you back. It may be that you wish to give it a different look so that an employer will reconsider you. Whatever the reason, a worthwhile exercise is to give your resume a touch up.
A resume is always a “working document”. By that, I mean you should never consider it finished to the point where you can’t update or tweak it, as necessary. Certainly if you have a major change, such as a new degree or employer, it will be time to update the document. Not all changes, however, have to be as dramatic as those examples, and qualify more in the realm of a resume “touch up”.
By now you are probably wondering what are some of the items that you should consider when “touching up” your resume. Below are just a few examples of what I am referring to:
• Include Your Most Accessible Contact Information – Check to see if your resume has your current contact information – most importantly the phone number. If your resume has your landline, consider in today’s mobile world if this is the best way to reach you. General rule of thumb is to include both a mobile and landline (if you have one) number, unless you are never home to pick up and then just write the mobile on your resume.
• Still Using an Objective Statement? – While an objective statement is not incorrect, recent resumes have trending towards eliminating this area and replacing it with a summary of your key areas of knowledge or expertise. Generally, Hiring Managers have found the Objective Statement to be so generic that it adds little to no value to a candidate. This is especially troublesome for a Job Seeker because outside of their contact information, this is what they are leading their resume with at the top of the document.
• Update the Timeline – Traditionally a resume should only go back approximately 15- 20 years. If you have a position further back than this time period you should consider leaving it off your resume. This is especially true in a situation where the position has little or no relevance to the focus of your current career.
• Add Current Accomplishments, etc. – What have you done since the last time you updated your resume? Is there a project you can now note, or a new accomplishment in which you received recognition? Keep in mind, adding items should not always automatically equate to a longer resume. When adding anything, review your current resume to determine if there is anything that can and should be deleted.
• Incorporate any Feedback – If you are currently seeking a position, you may have received feedback during your search process. Receiving feedback from a Hiring Manager seems to be more of rarity, due to fear of offending an applicant with honest feedback. If you are fortunate enough, however, to receive anything from a Hiring Manager, take it to heart and review your resume to determine if anything should be changed.
• Delete Whatever Is Dated – This mainly applies to technology and the ever changing programs that are used. An Information Technology person is probably right on top of updating their resume with this information, but what about everyone else. If you are still professing your expertise in the Word Star document processing software, you have a very dated resume. The basic rule of thumb is if it is not widely used or noted in the employment posting you are applying for, then it is safe to remove.
Once a resume is written, there is almost a sense of relief that it is done. So, it is not a surprise that job seekers are generally not excited with the prospect of having to rewrite or even update the document. The exercise, however, can pay real dividends by providing a better first impression to the reader regarding your candidacy. All it takes is about an hour of your time.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: