Four Signs Your Résumé Needs Updating

Four Signs Your Résumé Needs Updating

Is your résumé more 2010 than 2017? Then it’s high time you brought it up to current standards!

Your résumé is summary of your skills, experience, and accomplishments intended to grab the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager. Ideally, it will motivate them to call you for an interview. However, if your résumé is outdated, the chances your job application will be successful greatly diminish. Here’s how you can tell your résumé needs updating—and what to do about it.

1. Your résumé doesn’t contain relevant keywords. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are automated résumé screening programs used by recruiters and hiring managers to process the vast numbers of applications they receive for each job. ATS use keyword recognition to select candidates with the most relevant qualifications. That’s why it’s critical to match the keywords used in the job posting in your résumé. For example, if the job posting asks for “5+ years of experience developing mobile applications,” list “extensive experience in mobile application development.”

2. The format and file type are outdated. In her Time Money article “What Your Résumé Should Look Like in 2017,” Kristen Bahler advises choosing a smooth and balanced design. Use a modern-looking font like Calibri or Cambria, and unless you’re a designer, avoid unnecessary graphics. Don’t save your résumé as a pdf; instead, save it as a Word document so ATS systems can read it.

3. It opens with an objective statement. Nowadays, most employers want to know how you can add value to their company. Replace the objective statement with a one- to two-sentence value statement that contains relevant keywords. Then create a section with three to four bullets listing your most impressive accomplishments along with measurable results, for example, “Improved sales process efficiency, resulting in a $50,000 revenue increase in 12 weeks.”

4. It lists outdated or irrelevant experience. Your résumé should be concise—no more than two pages—and to the point. As a rule of thumb, omit any information that’s more than 10 years old. However, if you’re a mid-career or mature worker with impressive experience, select the most relevant information to include.

If you keep these pointers in mind, the hour or two it will take to get your résumé up to date is time well spent. After all, today’s top employers aren’t looking for yesterday’s résumés.