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Update Your Resume and Stand Out From the Competition

Your resume has served you well in the past…After all, this document helped you land the last position you stepped into a few months, years, or decades ago. And now you’re on the market again, and you’re exploring any move that might grant you an edge over the other applicants in the pool. Instead of submitting the same old document with a few new entries added to the “work history” section, consider giving your entire resume a top-down overhaul…or at least a fresh new look. Here’s how.

Start with your layout.

Just like fashion and interior décor, document styles and layouts tend to shift with the times. Don’t submit a 1995 resume for a 2015 job search. Explore your options and choose a color and theme that suggest market-savvy professionalism and reflect your personal brand. Check online for effective samples, and make the best possible use of the features available in your version of Word.

Update your summary.

Take a hard look at the most important section of your resume: your four line summary at the top of the page that briefly explains what you’re looking for and what you can do. Even if you’ve been working in the same industry for a long time, your goals and abilities have probably evolved. Don’t be afraid to delete this section and start over. But salvage some of the language and phrasing that adhere most tightly to your core message.

Update your education.

If you’ve earned any degrees or certifications, of course you’ll want to add these to your education section. But make sure you also add any individual courses or training sessions you’ve completed. Include the courses in which you’re currently enrolled and list your anticipated completion dates. While you’re at it, take a close look at some of the entries that pertain to your earliest educational accomplishments. If you’ve moved beyond high school, take your high school details off the list. If more than three years have passed since you graduated from college, remove your GPA.

Update your work history.

Add an entry to this subheading to account for your most recent position (or positions). But as you do so, keep moving through every line of this section and tweaking your existing text to fit your current goals. Your target employers may be looking for specific skill sets that aren’t reflected in your current text; if so, make sure you shift the focus so your entries highlight the accomplishments and responsibilities that will help you shine. Work keywords into your text as well so you’ll be more likely to make it past scanners and search engines.

For more on how to update your resume and improve your odds of landing a job, reach out to the staffing professionals at PSU.