Spring Clean Your Resume with These Tips

May 15th, 2020

Spring is here, and it’s time to step outside and feel the sun! It’s also time to clear out the clutter and dust in our homes AND our careers. If you’ve been putting up with too much for too long from a suffocating boss or a dead-end job, now is the time to break free. And if you’re out of work and looking for something new, now is the time to shake some of the dust and outdated dead weight from your resume.

Here are a few tips that can help you tighten and streamline your document for the season that lies ahead.

First, read your resume over and have someone else do the same.

Read your resume with the eyes of a hiring manager, and as you do so, hand it off to a trusted friend or family member who can help you with your overhaul. If anything stands out in a negative or confusing way, mark that section or phrase and come back to it later.

Get rid of outdated claims.

Any job you held more than ten years ago should probably drop off your resume at this point, with just a few exceptions: If your outdated job is unusually relevant to the one you’re seeking or unusually beneficial (for example, if you and your target hiring manager worked together for an old employer and she may not remember), it can stay. Otherwise, jobs over ten years old just take up space you could be using for fresher and more relevant information.

Tighten your education section.

If you graduated more than 15 years ago, take your graduation dates off your resume. At this point, those dates don’t help you much and they may subject you to age discrimination. If you graduated more than three years ago, remove your GPA. If you’ve graduated from college, remove your high school name and credentials altogether.

Elevate your goals and tighten your credentials to help you reach them.

Maybe the last time you examined your resume, you were searching for a junior-level position that could help you get a foot in the door. But now six years have passed and you’re not targeting the junior level anymore. Claims that once helped you stand out have become par for the course (like “served customers daily”). And accomplishments that made you proud six years ago can leave you aiming too low if you keep them in your resume. Toss them out. Replace them with more recent accomplishments that can help you grasp a higher rung of the career ladder. For more tips and resume-freshening moves, turn to the up-to-date job search experts at PSU.

Update Your Resume and Stand Out From the Competition

March 27th, 2015

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.


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