Thursday, September 15, 2022

7 updates your résumé needs now

Without a refresh, your résumé can quickly look dated. Here are seven ways to give it a quick update.


Résumé-writing typically comes with a list of best practices. Tailor your résumé to the job. Focus on the impact you made instead of the tasks you performed. And, most of all, be sure it’s accurate and free of typos. A recent analysis by job search platform Adzuna found that meaning almost roughly two-thirds of résumés contained at least one mistake. More than 13% of the résumés analyzed contained five or more errors.

But, beyond that, there are a few more nuanced details that can make your résumé look modern—or dated, says career coach and résumé consultant Marjorie Sherlock. “The résumé has evolved as a marketing tool, driven by what the market is telling us,” she says. And much of what was expected even 10 years ago is “completely dead.”

The risk of submitting a résumé that looks a little behind the times is what it says about you: Perhaps you’re not up on trends or how industries evolve, Sherlock explains. So, if it’s been a few years since you’ve updated your professional calling card, give it a look with these tips in mind.


While applicant tracking systems have come a long way, it’s still a good idea to avoid heavy graphics or tables to present information in your résumé, Sherlock says. And use one space after a period rather than two. (Word processing programs automatically adjust spacing—typewriters didn’t—so, there’s no need for the extra space.)

** I have looked at a lot of resume that would have looked nice if they were printed out but the parsing function doesn't like all of the columns and graphics so it cuts down on your odds of being found through keyword searches.


Résumé consultant Donna Svei limits clients’ résumés to 700 to 800 words. “Very few recruiters and hiring managers want to read more than that,” she says.

Similarly, she advises avoiding large blocks of text, which are hard to read, especially on mobile devices. People start losing interest after about four lines, she says. “Technology shifted résumés from paper to screens, and job seekers who haven’t adapted to the change with shorter paragraphs that are easier to read on screens look dated,” she says.


Periodically, it’s a good idea to cull the information you include on your résumé to keep it more focused on today. Since 2007, the pandemic and Great Recession have changed so much about work and the way things get done. Unless the experience is “stunningly relevant” to your goals, consider dropping it in favor of more recent and relevant experience. Awards, speeches, and publications older than about four years may be past their expiration date, she adds.

Read the full Fast Company for all 7 updates article

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