Learn five easy ways to to polish your resume so you’re ready to spring into action this season.
Spring is a time of fresh starts and new possibilities. Many of us usher in this new season by reorganizing our spaces, purging unnecessary items, and giving our homes a good cleaning. While we typically focus our spring-cleaning efforts on bedroom closets and kitchen drawers, spring is also the perfect time to freshen up your resume.
Whether you’re actively searching for work or perfectly content with your current job, it’s best practice to dust off your resume a few times a year to ensure you’re always prepared, should a great new opportunity — or a pink slip — fall into your lap.
Follow these five easy steps to quickly and painlessly spring-clean your resume:
1. Grab your supplies
Before you can clean up your resume, you’ll need to gather some important materials to help you with the process. This includes your resume, a copy of your current job description, a few sample job listings that describe the type of work you’d likely pursue next, and your “brag book” — the place where you regularly record your professional accomplishments (hint: if you don’t currently have a brag book, now’s the time to start one).
2. Update your information
Since the last time you updated your resume, what has changed? Have you accepted a new role, received a promotion, or moved to a different department? Do you have new work accomplishments to highlight? Have you learned new skills or completed a course or program that enhanced your career? If so, add these details to your document so you’re working with a complete picture of your recent experience and skills.
3. Throw out irrelevant details
As your career goals change, how you present your qualifications on your resume should also change to support these goals. Reread your entire resume with your current goals in mind and decide what details should be added, edited, or removed to showcase your relevant skills and experience. Try minimizing the details from jobs that don’t align with your current goals and spend more space elaborating on your work and accomplishments that highlight your most relevant qualifications. This process will also help you trim down your resume to the ideal page length.
4. Declutter your resume design
When it comes to polishing your resume, less is more. Avoid custom formats, elaborate designs, and multiple font colors or types that make it more difficult for recruiters to find the details they most care about. Stick to a clean, consistent layout with clearly marked headings that make it easy for readers to quickly skim the document and understand your career story.
5. Scrub out the typos
Once you’ve finished reorganizing your resume, print it out for a more thorough proofread. Our brains don’t read words on screens as carefully as when they appear in print, so you’ll be more likely to catch any typos or grammatical errors this way.
You can also read each word of your resume out loud and backward, starting at the end of the document and working your way back to the beginning, to help you catch any awkward phrases that should be addressed.
Start a new routine
Like cleaning your home, updating your resume can feel overwhelming without regular maintenance. Instead of waiting to update your resume until you need to use it, clean it up at least twice per year — even if you don’t have plans to search for work any time soon.
By making more frequent edits, you’ll ultimately spend less time working on your resume and will be in a better position to spring into action, should a new opportunity arise.