Tips to Cleaning Up the Resume for the New Year

National Experts in Resume Writing & Career Coaching

Tips to Cleaning Up the Resume for the New Year

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Cleaning up the resume (or updating it) can take place any time of the year, but it’s a focal point for many especially at the start of the year. It’s a new beginning and a great time to ramp things up for the peak of hiring season, which many recruiters and employers agree is the first quarter. There are some who may argue there is no set hiring season in the U.S. because it is year-round, but the first quarter certainly is not what people would call a slow hiring season.

With many of the major holidays out of the way and new budgets approved, recruiters and employers are ready to ramp up efforts to finding the best talent for jobs. Here’s what you can do to get your resume ready for the spotlight:

Highlight more recent employment
Whether you’re a young professional or someone with 20+ years of experience in the field, it’s important that the Professional Experiences section of the resume focus on recent employment – that’s what will matter most to many employers, not the job from 20 years ago.

For the young professional, if your resume still has internships you’ve held during your college years and you’re now several years into the job, consider taking out the less important internships, or putting less emphasis on it to make room to expand on experiences as a full-time professional in the field.

For professional with 15+ years of experience, if you’ve changed your employer multiple times the resume can come off running longer than it needs to be. Also, showing an employment date that runs very far back may come across as historic to those reviewing your resume. Strike a balance with what you showcase under Professional Experiences. You want to highlight fresh experiences indicating to the employer you have relevant experience, skills, and talent – capabilities to do TODAY’s job! 

Move the Education section lower (unless you’re a new grad or in the science/medical field)
If you have multiple years of experience already, it’ll serve you better to focus on more recent professional experiences and skills than your college education from years past on the resume. It’s great that you held a 4.0 GPA and was class Valedictorian, but employers looking to hire at your experience level will give that information less weight than your professional experiences. Move information on education lower on the resume.

Of course, if you’re a new grad with minimal professional experience or someone in a professional field (like science or medical) where education plays a large role, leaving it towards the top section of the resume can serve to be beneficial.

While reviewing this section, also look to remove any outdated details. It’s unnecessary to indicate the year you graduated. And, if it’s been some time since you last updated your resume, remove unnecessary information like course work or clubs you joined in college if you now have more professional experience to speak of instead. There is limited space on the resume so you want to prioritize the content that goes on it. Focus on important and relevant facts that’ll help you shine as a professional.

Eliminate old resume-writing styles
The resume has evolved over time, and like everything else change occurs. Some rules to resume-writing that were basic in the past are now no longer necessary and turn out to be some of the top pet peeves for recruiters.

If your resume still has things like an Objective Statement, References available upon request, and filler words like ‘successful,’ ‘results-oriented,’ or ‘creative,’ it’s time to take them out.

  • The Objective statement: Today’s employers want to hear what you can do for them, not what they can do for you;
  • References available upon request: It’s expected that you’d make references available when requested, so no need to state it on the resume; and
  • Filler or fluff words were used to spice up information on the resume, but today’s employers look right through it. Don’t tell the employer your amazing. Showcase your amazing by detailing your experience, skills, and results gained on the job. For more tips, read: “4 Ways to Turn Resume Fluff into Marketable Facts.”

While the resume continues to change, and evolve, having an effective one is still key to a successful job search and securing that next great opportunity. Use the tips above to help you garner better results!