How to Update your Resume: the Complete Guide

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How to Update your Resume: the Complete Guide

Keeping your resume updated is a smart thing to do even when you’re not job hunting. You never know when an exciting opportunity might come up and you need to submit your resume at short notice.

Why update your resume? The sooner you apply for a job the better chance you have of being considered. Updating your resume helps you to avoid delaying an application because you don’t have an up-to-date copy of your resume ready to send to employers.

Your resume is the most important tool you have to help advance your career, it should focus on your strengths and help to sell you to potential employers. If you have an outdated resume the chances are there will be a number of changes you need to make.

This step-by-step guide will walk you the most important changes to make in order to update a resume. The most time-effective way is to use a resume builder which allows you to update your resume online.

Updating your resume step-by-step

Having an updated resume is advantageous and if you follow this guide it is a simple task. There are a number of traps which job candidates fall into when writing resumes but they are all avoidable.

When to update your resume? You should update your resume regularly and not only when you apply for jobs. Review your resume every six months and make sure it is up-to-scratch. Add new responsibilities, achievements, and skills.

Here are the 5 best tips for updating resumes which will help your resume to stand out from the crowd…


Be concise and cut out the deadwood

Including too much information on a resume is a typical mistake. Every item should clearly help to sell you in some way so if you’re not sure if something is relevant, delete it. Avoid long paragraphs and use bullet points instead as employers don’t want to wade through long pieces of text. Try to keep your resume to a single page. There are a number of things not to include on your resume including…

  1. Personal information: Don’t include your age, ethnicity, marital status, or sexuality. Do include contact details.
  2. Salary details: This could harm your application if the employer thinks your salary is too high or low for the position.
  3. Hobbies and interests: Unless a hobby is relevant to a job, employers simply aren’t interested.
  4. References: Writing ‘references available on request’ goes without saying. Wait for the employer to ask for them.

Focus on recent experience

Although on occasion it is necessary to include something earlier, employers are generally only interested the last 10-15 years. An updated resume shouldn’t contain job positions from before then. Similarly, only include your most recent or most relevant qualifications.

Only include your high school if it is your highest level of educational achievement. There are exceptions. If you are writing a student resume or you are writing a resume update after graduation it is natural to focus more on your education.

Identify keywords and use them

More and more companies are using Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to filter resumes. This means that if a resume doesn’t include the right keywords, it won’t even be read by human eyes. It is important to bear this in mind when updating your resume.

Each job has slightly different needs so you will need to adapt your resume for each application. Read carefully through each job posting to identify the key requirements and then work them into your resume.

Give your resume a makeover

Update your resume format and appearance. When you’re updating your resume you should develop a new layout. The quickest and easiest way is to use a resume template. They are professionally-designed so they will grab the employer’s attention. There are hundreds to choose from and they are quick to edit, making it easy to update your resume for a job when you need to.

The first impression your resume gives is crucial as employers are quick to judge. Make sure your resume…

  1. Looks attractive and professional
  2. Highlights the most important parts (Choose a resume format which draws attention to your strengths)
  3. Is visually consistent (the same font, font size, color scheme etc is used throughout)

Update social media and proofread

Make sure you update your resume on LinkedIn and any other social media profile as well as your resume. Employers will check so it’s important to ensure consistency.

It is also crucial to proofread your resume multiple times. Small errors give the wrong impression so don’t make them.