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Update Your Resume—Painlessly, We Promise—With These Easy Steps

The #WeekendJobSearch Assignment 5: Give your resume a polish, and make yourself instantly more hireable

Hey! Welcome to week 5 of the #WeekendJobSearch, our ongoing series that breaks the whole job-search process into 13 totally doable to-do items.

Last week, we showed you how to research your top companies to target employers you’d like to reach out to for informational interviews, and start your intel-gathering for when you get a real job interview.

This week, we’re asking you to update your resume. Scared? Don’t be—it doesn’t have to be a painful process. With a few step-by-step instructions, we’re going to help you brush up your resume, making it irresistible to hiring managers.

The #WeekendJobSearch Assignment #5

Update Your Resume

To give your resume a nice clean update, use this list as a starting point.

1. Remove positions that are no longer relevant to your goals.
That job you had at a local sandwich shop in college? Nix it. “The person reading your resume needs to know what you do, where have you been and how you got there,” says human resources executive David Gaspin.

2. Consider cutting the career statement.
Resume real estate is tight. To make space on yours, consider cutting the career objective. If your resume is laid out well—thorough job titles and descriptions, education and skills—it will tell your story for you.

3. Add recent positions and brush up the details.
If you’ve been meaning to add new positions to your resume, do so now. And if you’ve been freelancing or working contract gigs, make this known on your resume.

A few more things you can do right now:

  • Edit your resume down to make it a one-page document.
  • Keep your current position in present tense and your previous positions in past tense.
  • Check your chronology of jobs is correct (with most recent at the top).
  • Double-check for grammar and spelling mistakes. (Are you ending your bulleted sentences with periods? Are you using serial commas? Neither of these style points is wrong, but use them consistently.)
  • Focus on results in your descriptions, changing sentences from “Managed PPC accounts” to “Increased PPC ROI by 125 percent.”
  • Have a friend take a good look over your updated resume.
  • If you’re applying for a particular job, use keywords and phrases to show a hiring manager that your skills can seamlessly transfer to the new role.

While this list is a great place to start, it’s never a bad idea to have a career professional audit your resume as well.

And that’s week 5! We’ll see you next week when we’ll work on networking, giving you some small but powerful actionable steps that’ll grow your network and get you closer to your top job.

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