Most people in Canada change jobs roughly every two years. That means it’s likely been at least that long since you’ve touched up your resume. If the time has come to make a career move, you might think you just need to add your most recent job title to the top of your resume and you’re ready to apply.
The fact is, resumes need regular maintenance. If you haven’t updated yours in a while, then out-of-date information can be hurting your chances of getting hired. Here are a few of the key areas that need some polish before you apply.
Update your intro paragraph
Have your career goals changed? Have you advanced in your career since the last time you used your resume? The summary paragraph at the top is one of the first things employers will read. Make sure that it highlights your essential qualifications for the job your seeking now.
Pro tip: Update this paragraph with your most relevant credentials and accomplishments for each and every job that you apply for. Think of it as a two to three sentence cover letter.
Add your latest accomplishments
Employers are always looking for those exceptional candidates who accomplish results above and beyond what is normally expected in their job descriptions.
Exceeded quota by XX%, Increased efficiency by XX, Saved XX$ by …
Use numbers whenever you can to demonstrate your achievements is a measurable way. The message to employers is always “Here’s what I have done for recent employers – therefore here’s what I can do for you…”
Update your skills
You should always be learning on the job, expanding your skills. Keep your resume current by listing the latest skills, tools, and technologies you’ve used and learned.
By the same token, you may want to remove any older skills that either make you look outdated or more junior than you are. For example, while people still use Microsoft Office and word processing, listing them on your resume for any job involving technology above an entry-level position, just looks like filler. It’s assumed that if you are working in the digital space you know how to create, share, and organize documents, spreadsheets, and files. List the most advanced skills that are relevant to the job you want.
Similarly, ‘telephone skills’, ‘data entry’ and ‘typing’ aren’t considered to be skills anymore. In 2017 everyone should be able to use a phone, input data, and type.
Cut out the oldest stuff
Everything in your resume should help sell your candidacy for the jobs you’re targeting. Information that doesn’t contribute to that goal just takes up space and waters down the good stuff.
So, if you worked at jobs early in your career that aren’t related to your current ambitions, cut them from your resume.
As a general rule, anything from more than ten years ago isn’t relevant to employers. Similarly, once you have a college or university degree, or more than a few years of working experience, you shouldn’t have your high school on your resume anymore.
It may seem like the more stuff you can pack into your resume, the better, but this isn’t the case. Your resume should be as concise as possible, listing your best credentials, skills, and accomplishments specific to the job you want.
Everything other than that does more harm than good.