Update Your Resume in 8 Simple Steps

by: Natalie Winzer, iHire
April 20, 2017

Woman updating her resume

Your company just laid off 20% of its workforce, including you.

A close friend referred you for an awesome opportunity.

Your partner got promoted, and you have to move to the other side of the country.

You’re not actively looking for a new position but just came across your dream job online.


Sound familiar? Regardless of which of these scenarios resonates with you, your next step is the same: update your resume. A strong resume is essential if you’re looking for a new job and want to make the right first impression. Even if it’s been years since you last looked at it, updating your resume doesn’t have to be stressful. These resume writing tips will help you create a better resume and land your dream job.

When faced with an unfamiliar or seemingly daunting task, getting started is often the hardest part. Here are 8 simple and straightforward questions to get the wheels turning and show you how to update your resume without losing your mind.


1. Have you held any new positions?

Arguably the most important part of your document, your work history is a good place to start when updating your resume. Add in any new position(s) you’ve held since you last looked at it. Double check the dates in your career history and be sure to change the details for now previous roles from present tense to past tense.


2. Do you have any new skills, qualifications, or credentials to add?

Did you earn a new license or certification? Master a new skill? Learn a new language? Add these items to your resume and remove outdated or irrelevant skills to make room for the more important details if space is tight.


Man working on resume and writing down new skills


3. Have you recently completed any training courses? 

Lifelong learners are attractive to hiring managers. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for professional development by listing the latest training courses you’ve taken. These can include free massive open online courses (MOOCs) or other self-directed classes, as long as they are relevant to your career.


4. Have your current job responsibilities evolved? 

If you haven’t changed jobs since you last worked on your resume, make sure the information included for your current role is correct and up to date. Don’t sell yourself short if your present position has evolved (especially if this evolution shows growth in responsibilities).


5. What have you accomplished lately in your current position?

Similar to the point above, be sure to add any recent accomplishments and major projects you’ve completed. In this “What have you done for me lately?” society, make sure your resume shows that you’re a constant achiever. A strong resume MUST include measurable results.


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6. Have you recently volunteered your expertise for any community organizations?

Serving your community looks great on a resume and can be excellent interview material. Be sure to add any new volunteer activities, especially if you’ve held leadership roles or positions where your industry expertise was involved.


7. Does your resume follow the latest best practices in resume writing?

Once you have all of the latest and greatest information in place, make sure your document’s overall strategy will work for you in today’s market. If you haven’t looked for a job in years, what worked back then doesn’t necessarily work now. Read up on modern resume writing tips and advice from certified professionals and adjust your document’s content and format accordingly.


Woman giving her resume to a friend to review


8. Has anyone else reviewed your resume lately?

To ensure you have not only a better resume but a perfect resume, have several trusted colleagues review it. Find someone to read it from the hiring manager's perspective and enlist someone else to proofread it solely for spelling and grammar. Don’t underestimate the value of an outsider’s perspective, though choose your “editors” wisely and keep in mind that not all advice is created equal.


Bonus tip: update these extras, too.

Once you’re finished updating your resume, don’t forget about these supporting materials (if applicable to you):


Next time the opportunity to pursue your dream job comes up, you’ll be one step ahead of your competition and ready to go with not just an updated resume, but a strong resume that wins interviews!