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4 Tips for Refreshing Any Resume

Lacey Grim | May 29, 2020

It’s Spring and that means it’s time to clean out those closets and give everything a fresh, new look- including your resume.

Even if you’re not looking for a job, you can use your resume to apply for awards, board positions and speaking opportunities, so it’s always a good idea to keep it up to date and ready to go. We’ve got a few quick tips on how to kick open the doors and let some fresh air in on that most essential of professional documents.

Update it

The first and most obvious task during a resume tune-up is adding updated information. Have you taken on any new responsibilities or had some major successes lately? What about continuing education, certifications or just new skills you’ve picked up on the job? Get those in there!

While you’re adding the new stuff, you should also look at clearing out anything outdated. A general rule of thumb is your work history should only go back about 10 to 15 years. If anything has aged past its prime, take it out.

De-buzz it

Now let’s get into the resume freshness check. Look through it for outdated buzzwords or terms. Most experts agree that “references available upon request” is a bit old-fashioned. If you list “email” or “internet proficiency” among your skills, your resume might appear retro – and not in a good way.

However, general skills like leadership, organizational experience or analytical ability never go out of style. Since software and hardware inevitably change, the skills list of your resume requires the occasional adjustment to stay current.

Brand it

Another sign of an older resume is the use of an objective statement. These were fashionable and highly recommended in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, but overuse pushed them out of popularity. Resume consultants now recommend branding statements or professional summaries. These blurbs might include more words than an objective statement, but instead of vague career ambitions, they quickly sum up your skills and value to a prospective employer.

In the past, we might have subjected a potential employer to an objective statement like this:

“I want a highly rewarding career where I can employ my varied skills and experience to help the company and my co-workers be successful.”

The problem is, that statement doesn’t set you apart. Try something like this instead:

Marketing director with eight years’ experience leading teams in demographic research and innovative campaign design. In 2013, I led the team that created the campaign that won the Bravo Marketing Award. I was featured on the cover of Marketing Hot Shots magazine in September 2016 for my work in launching the campaign. I am a results-oriented, team-driven leader committed to mentoring new marketers and expanding the boundaries of marketing science and practical application.”

It’s longer, but something like this could hit all the high points you’d want a potential employer to know about you – and at the very top of the page. That’s a much stronger start than an objective statement.

Space it

Our next recommendation might seem esoteric, but it could be just what your resume needs. Potential employers value “white space,” meaning the places on the page without any text.

The first impression of a resume with little white space, even if it’s not a conscious response, is that you’ve produced a document that’s going to take too much time and effort to slog through. Break up blocks of text with subsections, bullets and highlighted terms that give direction to the eye and simplicity to the design. It’s an easy way to earn a positive response without changing your copy.

There’s a simple way to see if you have the right amount: Print out your resume and look at it from a distance – literally! Stand far enough away from it that you can’t read the individual words. If you see a huge block of text, you’re lacking white space.

Having a resume that’s contemporary, polished and ready to go is going to put you on a solid footing for making the most of any future change. Good luck!

About the author
Author picture, Lacey Grim
Lacey Grim
As a sales enablement marketer for Paycom, Lacey Grim supports the sales team and sales trainers by developing marketing materials to meet their goals and strategies, including email campaigns and collateral for product launches. A business administration graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Grim served as a marketing specialist for Bank of Oklahoma before joining Paycom as a recruiting marketer. With a love for a challenge, she is excited for where her Paycom career will go!