Guide to Update & Fix Your Resume

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: May 06, 2024

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Your resume is one of the most important tools in your job search. It’s your chance to make a great first impression on potential employers and show them why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

You may not be actively searching for a new job right now, and you may have no plans to leave your current workplace, at least not in the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your resume current. Being proactive in updating your resume will save you time and energy when the time comes to make your move to a new position. After all, your dream job could be just around the corner. 

In this guide, we will explain:

  • Why you should update your resume.
  • How to fix your resume.
  • How to update your resume quickly and easily.

Why you should update your resume

An updated resume lets you quickly grab unexpected opportunities, such as job openings or networking connections and helps you respond promptly to job postings or inquiries that pique your interest without the stress of rushing to write a new resume.

Beyond helping you leap at new job opportunities faster, having a current resume lets you monitor your career progress and professional achievements, helping you identify areas for improvement and set new career objectives. In today’s dynamic and challenging job market, sending a polished and up-to-date resume makes a positive impression on potential employers and professional contacts because it shows you are proactive, forward-thinking and committed to your career.

How to fix your resume 

A clear, concise and well-organized resume shows you are organized, professional and attentive to details — qualities all employers look for. 

Take the time to review your resume and look for ways to improve it. It should be relevant to your industry, present your best qualifications, and look professional. 

Here’s how to fix your resume in four steps: 

1. Proofread your resume

Proofreading can help you identify areas where you can fix or improve your resume, such as adding or removing certain information or rephrasing certain statements. 

Here are some tips for proofreading your resume:

  • Remove references: Eliminate the references section; it’s understood that you willprovide these upon request.
  • Fix inconsistencies: Ensure that the formatting, font, and style are consistent throughout your document. This includes headings, subheadings, bullet points, and margins.
  • Check your spelling and grammar: Look for any spelling or grammatical errors, including typos, misspellings, and incorrect verb tenses. 

2. Review your resume format

Fix your resume format if needed. Most job seekers use the chronological resume format, which is familiar to most potential employers. However, consider using the functional format if you want your skills to stand out or have employment gaps. And if you have more qualifications than room on one or two pages, a combination format might be your best bet. 

3. Polish your resume formatting 

Ensure that your formatting is clean, professional, and easy to read. This means: 

  • Use bullet points: List your accomplishments and responsibilities in each job using bullet points for clarity.
  • Optimize margins and white space: Ensure margins are between 1 and 1.5 inches and use white space and line breaks between sections for readability.
  • Choose professional fonts: Use professional fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri in 10-12 pt sizes to ensure consistency throughout your document.
  • Professional filename: Save your resume with a professional title format, like “first-name-last-name-job-title-resume.

4. Streamline your resume content

  • Fix and remove unnecessary elements: Eliminate redundant accomplishments and unnecessary elements from your resume.
  • Keep your resume aligned with your goals: Regularly update your resume to reflect your evolving career goals and professional growth

How to update your resume 

Once you’ve fixed your resume, update it to give yourself a head start when you’re ready to apply for a new job. From incorporating relevant keywords and quantifiable achievements to showcasing your transferable skills and incorporating modern resume design elements, these dditional tips and techniques can help to ensure your resume effectively highlights your qualifications and increases your chances of securing your desired job opportunity.

Start with resume examples

Review professional resume samples from your industry or target role to gain insights and ideas for updating your resume. Resume examples can provide you with a visual representation of what a well-structured and professional resume looks like, which can can help you understand the appropriate formatting, layout, and organization of your own document. They can help you identify key skills, experiences, and achievements to highlight, and guide you in creating impactful and persuasive language.

Update your resume style

A quick and easy way to fix your resume is to give it a fresh look with a new template. A good resume template will ensure your resume is ATS-friendly, formatted correctly, expertly designed, and easily customized. A new style can help get you noticed!

Pro tip

Choose your resume design based on your industry and profession. For example, bright colors and images could work for some creative professions, but consider a more toned-down look if you’re in a field like law or medicine.

Fix your resume header

When was the last time you updated your resume header? This may seem like a no-brainer, but many job seekers forget this step and a seemingly simple mistake like this can prevent you from getting your dream job! Check it to make sure your contact information is current and correctly written. 

Here are some tips to update your resume header:

  • If you have a professional profile, website, or portfolio, ensure they are linked in your header. If you don’t, consider creating one because it could elevate your job application a few notches. 
  • You do not have to provide your home address; your city, state and zip code will suffice. 
  • Use a professional email address, such as your full name. Leave silly and playful email addresses for personal use.

Revise your resume summary or objective statement 

A great way to fix your resume is to update its objective or professional summary. Your summary or objective should represent who you are, what you do, and why you are great for the job. However, your goals and accomplishments might have changed since you last wrote your resume. Update your resume with a brand-new introduction that matches your new career aspirations, and you’ll be that much closer to achieving them. 

Here are some tips for updating your resume objective or summary: 

  • Use the correct one. Most people with work experience opt for a professional summary, but we recommend using a resume objective if you plan to change industries.  
  • Use keywords from your industry to stand out to ATS and employers. 
  • Be specific about your goals and why you are the best fit for the job. 

Refresh your resume education section

Update your resume education section to reflect your academic credentials and achievements accurately. Start by reviewing your educational background and identifying new degrees, certifications, or courses you have completed since your last resume update. Include the most recent and relevant information to showcase your educational accomplishments effectively. Highlight relevant coursework, projects, or research experiences relevant to your industry. Be concise and clear in your descriptions to provide a comprehensive overview of your educational background.

Here are some tips to fix your resume education section

  • List your educational credentials in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent degree or certification. 
  • Include the institution’s name, the degree you earned, the major or field of study, graduation date, and any academic honors or awards you have received. 
  • Tailor your education section to align with your industry. Emphasize any specialized skills or knowledge gained through your education that can demonstrate your qualifications.

Update your resume work history section 

Your work history section must showcase your most recent and relevant work if you want employers to take you seriously. Fix your resume employment section by adding your most recent position, removing jobs irrelevant to the role you’re applying for and highlighting your top accomplishments for each role you display.

Here are some tips for updating your resume education section: 

  • Only include up to 15 years of experience to keep our resume up-to-date and two pages long maximum. If you think experiences from earlier years are vital, then you might want to use the combination resume format. Consider excluding roles that do not add value to your resume. 
  • Use action verbs and specific examples to demonstrate your contributions and impact in previous roles. For example: “Revamped content strategy resulting in a 30% increase in social media engagement and a 25% growth in website traffic within the first quarter of implementation.”
  • Quantify your accomplishments: Whenever possible, add numbers to illustrate the impact of your work, such as “Managed a team of 10, resulting in a 15% increase in sales.”
  • Emphasize your job titles over employers’ names. Recruiters and hiring managers tend to base your fit on your job titles and accomplishments over the companies you worked for. 

Fix your resume skills section

Updating your resume skills section regularly is vital. Keep track of the skills you acquire in your current job, volunteer roles, freelance gigs and hobbies. Then, remove outdated skills from your resume and replace them with new skills you’ve learned. 

Here are some tips for updating your resume skills section: 

  • In addition to the “required skills” noted in the job description, pay attention to the “nice-to-have” skills and add any that match your skill set. They will help you stand out from other job applicants. 
  • Consider separating your skills into categories, such as technical skills and interpersonal skills.
  • Where possible, include specific examples or achievements demonstrating your proficiency in each skill. This unique way to update your resume can help validate your skills and make your resume more compelling.

Enhancements and updates

  • Add links: To provide more context to hiring managers, include live links to previous employers or your professional online profiles.
  • Include relevant volunteer work: If applicable, add volunteer experiences related to the job you are applying for.
  • Update sections for honors and certifications: Add new sections for any relevant honors, awards, and certifications.

Advanced tools and tips

  • Use AI for updates: Consider using an AI tool like ChatGPT to help update and refine your resume.
  • Use a resume builder: A resume builder is perhaps the fastest, most effective way to update your resume.

Final touches

  • Complementary cover letter: Write a cover letter that complements your resume, offering additional insights into your accomplishments and personality without repeating what’s on your resume.
  • Proofread carefully: Check your resume for typos, grammatical errors, or formatting issues before submission.

Key takeaways

  • A resume is a continuous work in progress and should be updated regularly.
  • Consider using a professionally designed resume template for a fresh look. 
  • Make sure you use the best resume format for your needs when you update your resume. 
  • Always proofread your resume for formatting issues, typos, grammatical mistakes and inaccurate information.
  • Use a resume builder for a professional but fast way to fix your resume.

 

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