International Update Your Resume Month Is Here: What You Need to Know
Every September, resume writers the world over rejoice because it’s International Update Your Resume Month again! Okay, it’s not like we’re getting out the streamers and hosting parties, but we do get excited because this month provides us with the perfect opportunity to share some hints and suggestions to get your resume ready for your next opportunity. Buckle up, grab a pen and paper, and dust off your old resume because you’re going to learn some new tips and tricks to stay competitive—whether you’re seeking a new position now or just want to be ready if one presents itself.
What’s with Update Your Resume Month?
We know that there are lots of Hallmark holidays out there. In fact, there’s even a website dedicated to every holiday imaginable, so you can celebrate something year-round. When it comes to International Update Your Resume Month, it’s more than some random thing, though. The event was launched by Career Directors International (CDI) as an annual reminder to all business professionals to keep their resumes up to date. CDI chose September because it corresponds with back-to-school time, and since the kids are embarking on a new adventure, it makes sense that adults should do so as well.
Now, every September, resume writers take this opportunity to remind job seekers and non-job seekers alike to review their resumes and make any needed tweaks to keep it up to snuff.
Having an Up-to-Date Resume Is Important (Really!)
Although the unemployment rate is currently low, at 3.5% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that still means 5.8 million Americans are looking for a job. And that number doesn’t include the many who are currently employed yet looking for new opportunities. Plus, there are plenty of people who aren’t looking at all and get approached by a recruiter—and then they have to scramble to get something together that even slightly resembles a resume.
That’s why you should always make an effort to update your resume. An ideal time to do so is right after your performance evaluation at work. Often, you’ll get solid feedback from your supervisor that includes some tangible results. These make excellent accomplishments, and when they’ve recently occurred, they’re much easier to remember than five years (or longer!) after the fact.
Update Your Resume for Two Audiences
As you’re working on your resume update, remember that you’re always writing for two audiences:
- Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) systems
- People, namely employers and recruiters
While these two are often looking for the same general information, how you share it can vary. For ATS systems, you must ensure your resume is scannable into the system. This means a simple format without images, graphs, charts, text boxes, headers, or footers. Some ATS systems cannot parse information in columns or tables either, so be wary of those as well. However, even though you’re avoiding major formatting, that doesn’t necessarily mean your resume needs to be boring. Leverage the borders and shading feature in Microsoft Word to add color and interest. You can also use icons and other additions, which won’t be seen by ATS systems, as long as you’re not using them to convey important information. For instance, don’t use a text box for your areas of expertise because the ATS system will never see those keywords, and they’re vital for your resume being found.
When writing for people, a clean, easy-to-read layout is best. Stick to two pages, only bullet accomplishments, limit yourself to one or two fonts, and use a font size that’s readable when the document is printed. No more than two colors should be used (and judiciously at that), and you want to make it exceptionally easy for readers to find your name and contact information.
What Your Resume Should Include
Once you’ve nailed the layout and formatting, you have to include stellar content to properly update your resume. Unfortunately, this is where many job seekers fall short, primarily because they’re not writers and it’s hard to talk about yourself without feeling like you’re bragging. This is perhaps one of the main reasons many candidates turn to a professional resume writing firm.
Your content should include, in order:
- Full name, city and state, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn custom URL.
- A title or headline that states the position you’re targeting.
- A three- to five-line summary that answers the question, “Why should I hire you?” focusing heavily on your value proposition.
- Areas of expertise, or core competencies, which share keywords that are in the job description and highlight your relevant skills.
- Professional experience in reverse-chronological order. For each position, include the company name, city and state, months and years of tenure, position, brief paragraph overview of job responsibilities, and bulleted results-oriented accomplishments.
- Education, with dates removed past five years.
- Any certifications, licenses, or professional memberships.
While this approach is typical for a reverse-chronological resume, there are variations. A new college graduate, for instance, may put education above experience. Their education section may be bulked up with projects, clubs and organizations, and relevant coursework. If you’re pursuing a position in academia, law, or medicine, you may choose to create a curriculum vitae (CV), which follows some of the same rules as a resume but could be much longer than the standard one to two pages and include publications, patents, and presentations.
Ready to Update Your Resume?
The task of keeping your resume up to date can be overwhelming, especially if it’s been a minute since you did anything with it. In fact, most of the job seekers we support haven’t written a resume for decades, if ever, so they’re missing many of the components needed to be competitive.
Lucky for you, this is where Resume and Career Services excels.
With nearly three decades of experience, having written thousands of resumes, we are adept at crafting documents that get through ATS systems and garner the attention of employers and recruiters. And we always provide complimentary reviews. To get it to us, just click here and submit it. One of our resume writers will receive it and get back to you, usually the same day. Just so you know, you get personalized feedback from a real person. No AI is used in our resume reviews!
There’s no time like the present to update your resume, especially during International Update Your Resume Month!