Women at Work: How to Update Your Resume

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Are you currently job searching, or looking to make a move? First things first: updating your resume is key. Before you reach out to your network, you'll need something to review with them. Plus, 95% of online job applications require you to include your resume with your application, so having an up-to-date resume that makes you stand out is crucial.

A few years ago I worked in a college counselor's office as an intern, and I learned a lot of the resume updating tricks of the trade there.

when it's time to update your resume, heed this advice:

one // decide on a theme

Right away, decide on what you want your resume to look like. Instead of just using a Word Template, I use Canva. This post is NOT sponsored by Canva, I just absolutely love it! It's a great tool for building any kind of image or document, and they have hundreds of resume templates to choose from.

I personally like something with a little design aspect to it, but nothing too overwhelming or crazy. A slightly designed resume stands out a bit more from the sea of black and white Word Documents that recruiters are reviewing every day.

Here are a few templates I like in Canva—and they're all free!

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two // get your content in place

Once you've decided upon a theme, then it's time to copy and paste all of your current resume (whatever format it's in) into the new doc. Most resume templates already have placeholder areas for text that's nicely formatted, so it should be easy to get all of your information in one place.

three // cut everything down. brevity is key!

In my years reviewing resumes, applying for jobs, and acting as a hiring manager in past roles, I've learned that most people skim resumes (if anything) so your long paragraphs or run-on sentences have no place here. As much as you can, distill what you're trying to say about what you did in reach role into a few bullets.

Note: I would use 1-3 bullets for older, past roles, and up to 5 (maximum) for your current position. When cutting these things down, think about the main responsibilities of your role. I know there might be a million things you tackle each day, but think about the main buckets and really hone in on those.

four // rethink your categories

Besides your work experience, think about each extra area of your resume and ask if it really needs to be there. My resume only includes these must-have categories: Contact, Work Experience, and Education (in that order).

Note: Sections like Contact are important to have so that you're easily reachable, but do you really need a list of Core Competencies, or can you work those things into the bullets underneath each position? I removed areas like Profile, Awards, and Skills, because I thought it was more important to focus all of my available space on Work Experience and show the range of my past positions. If you have extra room, though, or don't have as much Work Experience, it can be nice to use extra areas to beef up your profile and make it look more full.

five // make versions

You've heard the tip time and time again: make versions of your resume that are tailored to each type of role you're applying for. But are you actually doing it? I wasn't for a while, but the deeper I've gotten into my career the more I've actually heeded this advice and it's worked wonders.

If you're in marketing, for example, and are applying for a Social Media Manager position, maybe add in an extra bullet towards the top of your resume that speaks to how you've handled social or worked closely with it. If you're applying for a Content Marketing Position, you could make your bullets a bit broader to speak about the writing projects you've been a part of.

six // get someone else's opinion

Not a bunch of people, just one. I typically like to show the finished product to one person who I really trust to get their opinion. I also like to show it to them with the job description of the role (or roles) I'm applying to so they have added context and can provide feedback accordingly.