5 Steps to Breathing New Life into Your Old Resume
When did you last look for a new job? If it was more than five years ago, it may be time to dust off that old resume and update it to meet the standards of today's labor market. Going forward, you may want to consider updating your resume routinely since you never know what great opportunities may come knocking.
Below are five ways to modernize your resume and set yourself up for success in your job search. If you don’t feel quite up to the task, consider getting a professionally written resume.
1. Leave out your graduation date
Unless it’s recent, there's no need to include the date of your graduation from college on your resume. If you graduated 10, 15, or 20 years ago, listing the date could lead to age discrimination despite the fact that time can’t change the quality of your education. Simply state where you got your education, in what field, and what the degree was, and leave it at that.
2. Don't include personal information
It used to be okay to include personal information on your resume, such as your hobbies and marital status, but times have changed. Nowadays, your resume needs to focus on your professional life and keep out the personal stuff. More modern companies could see such practices as unprofessional since your resume is supposed to inform about your skills, qualifications, and experience, not your hobbies.
Listing personal details could also lead to discrimination—for example, an employer may decide against a young married woman for fear that she may get pregnant and require maternity leave.
3. Don't list every job
You may have many jobs under your belt, but that doesn't mean you should include them all on your resume, especially the entry-level ones you got fresh out of college. A good rule of thumb is to list the jobs you've had within the past 15 years that are relevant to the position you're applying for. If there's a job from way back when that you also want to highlight, include a note about it at the end of the experience section to highlight your experience or achievements, but don't mention the dates.
4. Use keywords
If you didn't know that you need to use keywords in your resume, it's a sign that you're behind the times. These days, keywords should be a critical component of your resume if you want a fighting chance against other candidates.
Many companies now use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan and filter resumes before they even get to the person responsible for hiring. These computerized systems analyze resumes and cover letters, assessing them for suitability based on the frequency of keywords relevant to the position. In general, the more times a keyword appears, the better.
To choose which keywords are best, look at the words used in the job description. Tailor your resume using the keywords that apply to you and your skills. Don’t get carried away, though—if your resume makes it past the robotic gatekeeper, it will fall into the hands of a human recruiter, so you need a clear and concise document that reads smoothly to them, too.
5. Replace the objective with a professional summary
It's no longer the practice to include a career objective at the top of your resume. In today's job market, the objective is pretty pointless. Your resume should focus on what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. Instead, shine a light on the things that will help you land an interview, which is the purpose of a professional summary.
The professional summary has replaced the career objective in that critical space at the top of your resume. It immediately lets the hiring manager know what you have to offer and gives you a chance to showcase your top qualifications right away. Just a couple of sentences highlighting the skills and qualifications that set you apart can go a long way to getting you noticed.
These tips will help you update your old resume so that it's in step with modern times and enhances your chances of landing an interview. Keeping your resume updated from here on will help you stay on top of the game. If you want to play it safe with a professionally crafted resume, get in touch with our experts!