Updating and editing your resume is an ongoing process whether you are actively looking for a new opportunity or not. Anytime you gain new skills or accomplishments you should be updating your resume to keep it current. You can find an endless number of articles and books written about resume writing making it difficult to determine what you should actually focus on.
I found a recent article, Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re editing your resume, by Peter Yang on Fast Company that provides a good overview of the “do” and “don’ts” to focus on when writing or editing your resume. Some of the tips are obvious such as listing your most relevant and impressive achievements first. Other tips such as including soft skills are not so obvious but are important to remember.
The article presents a list of the following “dos” and “don’ts” and describes each in detail:
- Do list your most impressive and relevant achievement first
- Do optimize for Applicant Tracking Systems
- Do include soft skills
- Do tailor your resume for different jobs
- Do try getting your resume to fit exactly one page
- Don’t mention the obvious
- Don’t get overly fancy with pictures and colors
- Don’t use weak action verbs
- Don’t be inconsistent
- Don’t forget to ask someone to proofread
The author also focuses on proofreading as one of the most important items and I have to agree. Having others proofread your resume will of course help identify the obvious spelling and grammar errors. But it will also make sure that others inside and outside your industry can understand what you’ve written. Having both peers and others outside your industry proofread helps ensure your writing style is clearly understood by the widest audience possible. Consider these items the next time you refine your resume and it just may give you the edge on your next opportunity.