30 Days to a Better Man Day 6: Update Your Resume

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 5, 2009 · 10 comments

in 30 Days to a Better Man

None of us need reminding that the economy is in the tank right now. In this tight job market, every small thing can mean the difference between landing a job and being unemployed. Today we’re going to focus on one of those “small” things: our resume. I don’t know everyone’s story out there, but I’m sure many of you are looking for work. And having an updated, sharp looking resume is an essential part of networking like a man.

Even if you have a job, it’s a good idea to update your resume. Why? Well, first,  there’s a chance you could lose your job, and you want to be able to start looking for new work immediately instead of having to spend time working on your resume. Second, perhaps a better job opportunity will show up. Many times, such opportunities are time sensitive, meaning the first to get his foot in the door usually gets the job. We all need to be ready for these opportunities when they present themselves by having resumes that are ready to be printed off and placed in someone’s hand.

So today’s task is to update our resumes. If you don’t have a resume, then today’s a good day to start one. I’d suggest first reading our How to Write a Resume article.

Before we get to the task, let’s take a look at 7 pointers to ensure that we all have killer resumes.

Tips for Updating Your Resume

1. Brainstorm. First, check to see if there’s anything you can add to update your resume. If you look down at your resume and nothing comes to you, pull out an empty sheet of paper and list all the projects you’ve worked on, all the training you’ve accomplished, and any awards you’ve received since the last time you looked at your resume. If you’ve done any volunteer work during that time period, add that too.

2. Eliminate outdated info and “padding.”
Now that we’ve made a list of new stuff that we can add, take a hard look at your current resume and your new list of items. Are there items on your current resume that are just padding? Perhaps there’s some achievement on your new list that is much stronger and impressive than what you currently have. If so, replace the old achievement with the new. Update any new certifications you may have received. And make double sure that all your contact info is up-to-date. You don’t want to miss a job opportunity because you gave your old phone number and email in your resume.

3. Update your format. If you’re like most people, when you first wrote your resume, you probably just used a MS Word template. But we want our resumes to stand out. It’s hard to be unique if you use the same template that every other candidate is using. Instead of using a Word template, take a look at some sample resumes online. Below, we’ve included a few online resources you can use in your research. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask friends and colleagues in the same field as you if you can see their resumes to get inspiration on how to format yours.

Further reading:

4. Replace fluff words with concrete language and specific numbers. Your resume is no time to be vague. So phrases like “Good people skills” have to go. Instead, replace such vague phrases with action words that give specific numbers. Instead of saying “Good people skills” say something like “Managed 45 employees and conducted monthly interviews with each of them.”

Further reading:

5. Triple check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Your resume is probably the first impression you’ll have on a future employer, so you want it to be the absolute best. Having spelling and grammar mistakes isn’t the way to leave a stellar first impression. Run through your resume several times and check for any errors or typos. Read it  out loud to yourself. Have a friend or a mentor look it over, too.

6. Give it a face lift. Finally, you want to polish off  your resume so it gleams among the stacks of inanity on an employer’s desk. One way you can do this is to  make simple changes in the font and spacing. LifeClever has an amazing tutorial on how to make cosmetic changes to your resume that can really make it shine. It’s amazing how such small changes can truly freshen up your resume’s appearance and make it easier to read.

7. Create digital copies. After you’ve updated your resume, make digital copies of it so you can access your resume at the drop of a hat. I always keep a copy of my most current resume saved in my Gmail inbox in case I need to print one off while I’m away from my computer or I need to email it to a potential employer. Also, I recommend attaching a USB drive with your updated resume to your key chain. That way if you ever need a resume, you just plug and print.

The Task: Update Your Resume

There you go. Seven simple suggestions to help you update your resume. Now, take an hour today and update yours. Go to the 30 Days to a Better Man Community and upload a file of your resume to show what you’ve done and get some feedback. And who knows? You might even find a new job from doing it.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ethan Gunderson June 5, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Also, don’t neglect your cover letter. I really believe that your cover letter is just as important as your resume, if not more.

Here’s a small post that sums it up nicely:

2 amit June 6, 2009 at 12:29 am

Just finished a newer resume with a cover letter last week :D

3 Neil Guilbeaux June 6, 2009 at 5:15 am

I work in the IT field and regularly interview candidates for positions within my department. One thing I noticed while giving interviews is not everyone should list their certifications. If you haven’t used the material covered in a certification in a while, DO NOT list it. A good interviewer will call you out on it. Also, if you have a certification which builds upon another like the Cisco Networking certifications, just list the last one you received. It is implied you had to go through the first level of certification to get the one you have now. And the last thing not to do with certifications, do not list ones you are working on! There were many interviews I have conducted where the person I was interviewing couldn’t answer one question regarding material covered in one (and sometimes any) of their “Certifications” with confidence. If you list a certification, make sure you know ALL the material the certification covers.

4 isaac June 6, 2009 at 12:26 pm

This is excellent advice. If one can eliminate deadwood and keep the resumé a living and updated document, there will be no rush when the perfect job presents itself.

5 joshitoshi June 7, 2009 at 10:02 pm

i believe one of the BEST ways to present the resume, or any professional document is via PDF format.

it can be done via Google Documents. you can use their incredibly useful (and free) office suite to create (and import) resume documents, and later on export them to PDF.

6 Steven April 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

Why use your GMail inbox when you can use Google Docs?

7 Robert Christiansen April 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm

This task is a tuff one for me as I am a union electrician and rely on my local union to put me to work if I am unemployed so a resume for me is not neccasary . If I get layed off I return to the out of work list and sighn up , then depending on how many electricians are on there will decide how soon I go back to work . Fortunately I have had not to do this in my career due to my reputation in the trade I have been able to stay gainfully employed (knock on wood) .

8 Graham Proud January 9, 2014 at 11:03 pm

One suggestion, that can be viewed from opposite ends of the one stick.

As an employee, look for opportunities to write up your experiences in your job. Early in your career this will be important when seeking certification or endorsement of your work experience, say for example as an engineer.

As an employer, look for opportunities to provide learning and working experiences that your employees will be excited about including in their resumé. In my role as a manager it was always my goal to make people who worked with me successful in their next job interview! It always hurt to lose someone, but I knew if I provided a good environment they wouldn’t want to leave!

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