Tips to keep your resume updated

Are you still using your resume from four years ago? A recent Monster poll found that 8% of respondents likely are, and if that’s you, then follow these five tips for a comprehensive resume update.

Tips to keep your resume updated

Is your resume outdated? Update your resume now.

When was the last time you took the time to update your resume? Was it a different season? A different decade? Not sure? You're not alone. According to a recent Monster poll, 8% of U.S. respondents can’t even remember the last time they touched their resume—and that’s not good for your job search or your career.

While you probably don’t need to update your resume every day, or every time you get a new assignment at work—like the combined 15% of our more meticulous respondents—you should, however, make it a habit to refresh your resume on a regular basis.

How often should you update your resume? Monster career expert Vicki Salemi says, “You should update your resume every six to 12 months to add new skills and experiences.” That’s when a combined 37% of our respondents last updated their resume, meaning it’s about time to bust out that old resume once again.

But the truth of the matter is, as the poll results found, most people (40% of respondents) shelve their CVs once they're comfortably employed, letting them gather dust. If this is you, it's safe to say you need an updated resume in order to be a top contender in your quest for a sweet new job. 

Why bother with a resume update? You never know when the next awesome job opportunity will arise, and you want to be ready for it since you have the best chance of being considered for a job if you apply within the first 24 hours. You don’t want to delay applying because you need time to update your materials. Plus, if you haven’t revised your resume in a while, you probably have some stuff on there that dates you or makes you look stale. And with recruiters spending about six seconds viewing a resume, you can’t afford to be anything less than sparkling.

Now is a great time to reflect on your recent accomplishments and add them to your resume. These five quick “spring cleaning” resume tips help ensure that you will be a strong contender when your resume is reviewed by a recruiter, and better yet, a hiring manager. 

Tips to update your resume

1. Start with the look and lingo

"Whoever says looks don't matter hasn't been out on the job search battlefield lately," says Monster resume expert Kim Isaacs. "You have to use every possible advantage to compete in today's job market."

For starters, get rid of the "objective" field. That's yesterday's news and a potential red flag to hiring managers that you're not on top of current standards and practices in the workplace. Make sure your resume instantly communicates your career target with a descriptive headline (e.g., "CPA Backed by Corporate Audit Experience") and adequately reflects your depth and breadth of experience in a brief, hard-hitting opening summary highlighting your top selling points.

And while you're at it, toss out any mentions of outdated skills, old software programs, or other examples of terminology from yesteryear that may make you seem out of the loop. "Terminology changes from year to year," says Isaacs, "so be sure your resume reflects current trends." 

Refreshing your resume also means keeping it current. If you've changed jobs during the past year, earned a promotion or expanded responsibilities, your resume should reflect this. Even if you've remained in the same position, you've probably achieved noteworthy accomplishments in the last year.

2. Toss the snail mail and boost your social profile

An active online presence speaks volumes to your potential employers. In fact, a recent study by the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 84% of employers recruit via social media, and 43% of employers screen job candidates through social networks and search engines. Include links to your personal website, blog, and social pages. Just make sure that people who are searching for you online will like what they find.

3. Look alive!

Knowing which words to put on your resume can help you twofold. Start with your resume keywords. Study job postings on Monster that match your career target, and note which keywords appear repeatedly. Incorporate the keywords that match your background into your resume. 

Next, make sure your words pack a punch. Employers want to recruit talent that is passionate about what they do and enthusiastic about their company. Nothing kills mojo quicker than lifeless verbs floundering on your resume. A handful of action verbs on your resume will help liven things up a bit.

4. Check your fonts

Playful, unprofessional fonts are an eyesore. The worst fonts for your resume should be pretty obvious (hello, Comic Sans), but in case you’re not sure, take a look at some current sample resumes to see what is and is not in fashion.

5. Temper the testimonials

Of course, your references are available upon request—that's a given. Don't waste valuable resume real estate by offering something to potential employers that they're going to wind up requesting anyway. Use the extra space to expound on your winning skills and work experience.

Start a kudos file

To make your next refresh easier, resolve to start a file for projects and successes you achieve during the year. Copy performance reviews and keep them in this file. Print out complimentary or congratulatory emails and file these away. List new committees you join. Jot down assignments you complete during the year. Include details of quantifiable results (e.g., percentages, dollar amounts, before/after comparisons) of your efforts while still fresh in your mind. Your kudos file will remind you where you excelled so you'll be ready to punch up your resume.

Have you spring-cleaned your resume?

Call in the experts

A resume refresher doesn't need to be painful, and your efforts could pay off with big dividends. Just as with homekeeping, some tasks may be more than you can handle on your own and require outside help. Having an expert review your resume might give you the leg up you need in your job search. Get a free resume evaluation today from Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. In the words of a well-known domestic goddess, "that's a good thing."