It’s time for a resume update! No, really, it is. We asked our recruiters what they’d like job seekers to do to increase their chances of getting a job in 2024, and giving their resumes a polish was at the top of the list. Before you assume you’re immune to needing a resume update yourself, take a quick gander at these do’s and don’ts.
Do experiment with AI. Artificial intelligence (AI) has wholly entered the resume update space. There are dozens of AI tools specifically developed to rescue your resume, including Resume Genius, Rezi, Resume.io, and Jobscan. You can also use ChatGPT, Grammarly, Google Bard, and other multi-purpose AI tools. Some of the most popular and helpful ways to use AI for your resume update range from simple grammar and spelling help to creating a resume using job description keywords, your LinkedIn profile, or other information.
But don’t trust AI completely. Generative AI will be the first to tell you it can’t be trusted to tell the truth. It can suffer from AI hallucinations, outputs IBM calls nonsensical or altogether inaccurate. Those are two qualities you do not want in your resume. You want to match keywords in each job description you’re interested in, but you also need the information to be truthful. That’s a thin line that AI doesn’t often catch. One common way recruiters test the accuracy of a resume early on is to compare it to the applicant’s LinkedIn profile. If they contradict each other, your AI-led resume update will do more harm than good.
Do update the format. Today’s resumes look different from, say, ten years ago. For instance, there’s usually no need to include your mailing address or a landline phone number anymore. And your objective? We assume it’s to get “this” job, so instead, it’s more beneficial to include a professional summary—a few lines explaining why you’re a good fit for the position. Including language like “References available upon request” wastes valuable real estate. So is including proficiencies in common areas like email and word processing unless those skills are requested in the job description.
But don’t follow every trend. Trends come and go, and for good reason. Some are terrible ideas. Use your common sense or ask others who might be more knowledgeable in the job search space when you hear advice like this “white fonting” trend that was spread over TikTok, the sage advice to include your photo on your resume (which can create bias), or the urge to include social media handles that aren’t relevant.
Do make it appealing. Your resume should be visually appealing. Therefore, use a graphically attractive format, a font that’s easy to read, and elements that draw the reviewer in. Depending on the role, you may even consider an infographic format or include a personality snapshot or other visual. Resume.io offers some ideas here.
But don’t get too fancy. What’s “graphically attractive” in a resume often comes down to simplicity. And that’s important for several reasons. The first hurdle your resume update needs to pass in most cases is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which may not be able to read an overly designed document. Each ATS is different, so pay close attention to formatting instructions when applying, including any file format, document size, and font/image specifications. If there are no formatting specs, follow these resume formatting best practices.
Do be brief. Each resume update should be done with brevity in mind. We’ve often found that when a resume is long and cluttered, it’s because it’s trying to “do” too much. It’s unfocused. We know the task can seem daunting, but you really need to tailor your resume to each job you’re applying for. That way, you can narrow your language, goals, experience, and skills to fit what that employer, hiring manager, or recruiter is looking for. Monster offers these tips on how to do that.
But don’t be afraid of multiple pages, especially if you’re a seasoned professional. If you’ve been in the working world for decades, it can be downright impossible to sum up who you are on one page—even if you only include what you feel is relevant experience. For many employers, that’s OK. Clues that a longer resume may be expected include:
- Mention of a CV (curriculum vitae). A CV is a document that lays out your “course of life.” It’s very comprehensive and is often preferred by global companies or for medical, legal, academic, and science roles. As MyPerfectResume explains, you can assume that a comprehensive document is expected when a CV is requested.
- The job requirements and qualifications are lengthy. Whether it’s ATS bots or humans doing the work, your resume will be scanned for how closely your background matches the job description. So, if the listing is lengthy, don’t hesitate to address each major point on the wish list in your resume, too.
- It’s an executive position. For most jobs, the reviewer is looking for specific skills and experience to match the qualifications and requirements of the job. No more, no less. But executive roles are different. Business leaders need to be able to show their depth and breadth in that area of business much more holistically. That’s why many are asked for or use a CV instead of a shorter resume.
For additional resume update tips, check out our previous posts:
- How to Update Your Resume with ATS in Mind
- Resume Refresher: 4 Dos and Don’ts
- How to Update a Tired, Outdated Resume
- 14 Biggest Little Resume Mistakes
- TikTok Resume Hack Recruiters Loathe
- Tackling an Employment Gap on Your Resume
- Beware of These Scam Job Boards and Resume Services
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