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When was the last time you updated your resume? For many people, it’s either when they’re looking or a job, or after they’ve started a new job. And “updating” usually just means tacking on whatever they’re doing now (or just did) to show additional experience. But updating your resume should be a more thorough and beneficial process. When you continue adding and adding without taking the time to remove or revise anything, your resume can become less effective.

While yes, you do want to add your most recent job, don’t forget to check out the end of your resume, where it all begins. Are you still elaborating on jobs you held more than 10 years ago? Time to consolidate and add those to “additional professional experience” or remove them all together. It’s okay not to list every job you’ve ever held on your resume – it’s a snapshot of your career, not your life history.

Remove Outdated Information

This is one of the biggest components of updating your resume. If it has been a while since you last worked on your resume, chances are things have changed since then. Here are a few elements to review:

  • Take out keywords that are no longer relevant or necessary. Everyone knows how to use Microsoft Office and the Internet. Focus on skills that are more relevant and timely. Research what current job descriptions are asking for and how your experience aligns with the most frequently used terms.
  • Update your contact information, especially if you’ve moved, changed phone numbers, or got a new email address. And if you’re still listing an AOL or Hotmail email address, considering starting an account for job searching on Gmail which looks more professional and current. Don’t forget to add a link to your LinkedIn account too.
  • Get rid of details of your education that are unnecessary. If you graduated 10+ years ago, employers don’t really care that you graduated cum laude, were captain of the chess team, or were part of a social fraternity. Stick with the school and your degree. You don’t even need to add the year of completion unless it was very recently.
  • Replace outdated metrics with more current ones. This is especially important for those working in sales-related jobs or positions that are results-heavy. Be proud of your accomplishments and make sure they’re an accurate reflection of your abilities.

Polish Your Focus

When updating, don’t forget about your summary of qualifications too – because we know you’ve already replaced your objective. While you want to tailor this to each job you apply for, you can revise your general statement to support the type of role you’re currently in or seek. Highlight your strongest attributes and skills. If you’ve changed careers or even shifted to a slightly different focus, you want your resume to reflect that.

Tweak the Format

Nix the Arial font and replace it with something more professional. Move your education to the bottom if you have several years of work experience, and make sure each section is clearly labeled and has bullet points. Refreshing the style of your resume can give you more confidence and motivation in your job search because you feel better about the document you’re submitting.

Edit, Edit, Edit

Always remember to thoroughly edit your resume so that no grammar or spelling errors slip past you. It can be a good idea to have someone else read through it too to catch anything you may have missed.