10 of the Best Tips and Tricks to Update Your Resume

Tips for updating your resume from NetCredit


Thinking of changing careers? You’re in luck. September is National Update Your Resume Month, so we’re paying special attention to the updates job-seekers should be making to their resumes year-round. We spoke with a number of recruiters and professionals to get their best tips. Here’s what they recommend:

1. Check for Accuracy

“Include the most accurate information possible, make sure that the references you list are up to date, with the correct contact information. The worst part about being considered for a role is losing the offer because you provided out-of-date information for your references, making it hard to contact them.”

­–Katie Smith, Recruiter at SpareFoot

2. Update Your Descriptions and Language

“When updating your resume, research which terminology and keywords are currently popular and which ones are overused. There could be a big difference between which words are popular now, and the words that were popular when you first created your resume. Be sure to add the new terminology and take off any words that are outdated when you created your resume.”

–Tracey Russell, Recruiter for Naviga Business Services

3. Be Mindful and Selective

“Don’t feel obligated to include every job — including part-time work — that you’ve had since college. For example, including that you were a ‘Subway Sandwich Artist’ for three months is superfluous if you’re applying for a technology job, unless of course the company’s technology improves the sandwich-making process.”

–Josh Goldstein, Founder of underdog.io

4. Highlight Accomplishments

“Job-seekers often pull out their position descriptions and use them as the basis for a description of their work experience. But seldom do they point out accomplishments on the resume, which are what distinguish them from similarly qualified candidates. Other employees with similar job titles will have similar experience, but no one can duplicate your accomplishments exactly. It is a good idea to go back to old performance appraisals to find accomplishments that your boss has highlighted.”

–Cheryl E. Palmer, Owner of Call to Career

“What have you done to save the company money or time? What have you done to earn the company money? Have you taken on new responsibilities? Have you been involved in new projects? Have you earned new certifications or taken additional training? Did you contribute to a company blog or newsletter? How have you enhanced or established your expertise?”

–Kara Stevi, Recruiter at Principal Technologies

5. Make Your Profile or Summary Statement Count

“Your summary statement (if you choose to include one) occupies the most valuable real estate on your resume (front and center), yet so many job-seekers waste it on self-descriptors, such as ‘creative,’ ‘results-driven’ and ‘excellent communicator.’ Guess what? If you need to label yourself an excellent communicator, then you’re probably not one! Drop the generic stuff and instead use your summary section to provide your reader with details of your achievements, right up front. Thinking of your summary as a summary of accomplishments, instead of a summary of skills should help. If done right, your summary might land you an interview on its own.”

–Joseph Terach, Founder & CEO of Resume Deli

6. Make Hard Decisions About What to Exclude

“When you include irrelevant jobs, or even extraneous accomplishments from relevant jobs, you’re telling your target employer that you do not understand what they are looking for. To put it plainly, don’t make your target reader fish through a bunch of noise in order to find what’s really important to her… because she won’t. She’ll assume that you don’t ‘get it,’ and move on.”

–Joseph Terach, Founder & CEO of Resume Deli

7. Make Sure You’ve Got a Great Cover Letter to Back It Up

“General rule of thumb for a successful job search: Don’t ever send your resume alone when applying for a job. If the position is worth applying to, it is worth preparing a customized cover letter. This gives you an opportunity to clearly ‘connect the dots’ between their specific needs in the job posting and your experience and expertise. Don’t expect an employer to take the time to do that themselves. Show them how you can add value in this role. If you are applying online, be sure you follow all the steps required in the posting. Don’t give them an easy opportunity to eliminate you.”

Lynne Sarikas, Director of the MBA Career Center at the D’Amore McKim School of Business

8. Give Your Resume a Facelift

“Aesthetics do count! Chances are that if your resume’s look does little to wow you, a recruiter will be even less impressed. A well-designed resume that is stylish but professional and easy to navigate will encourage the recruiter to learn about you. Make sure you use only one or two fonts (one of my favorites is Cambria), a type size that is readable, thin lines or white space to separate sections, and that you don’t have big blocks of text.”

–Chaz Pitts-Kyser, Founder of Careeranista.com

9. Consolidate in All the Right Place

“It is a good idea to put your experiences in categories and put like experiences together, rather than create a chronological list of jobs. Summarize each category and put the related jobs under one category and put the experience that is related to the job you’re seeking above the other category. That way it is clear to the employer what you are interested in doing.”

–Jackie Jones, Founder and Director of Jackie Jones Jones Coaching, LLC

10. Update It More Than Once a Year

“Instead, try to update your resume a couple of times a year, quarterly if possible, to ensure you don’t leave out any juicy bullet points that could help you land a job later on.”

–Erik Bowitz, Senior Resume Consultant at Resume Genius