The start of a new school year is the perfect time to focus on keeping your resume up-to-date. After all, you never know when a job opportunity may arise, and it pays to be prepared. Making sure your resume is always in tip top shape will ensure that you don’t miss out on any potential opportunities.

So, when was the last time you gave your resume an update? September is International Update Your Resume Month and it is the ideal time to refresh and reorganize your career marketing portfolio (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, professional biography) so all components are in alignment and showcase your skills and experience in a way that will impress any potential employers. Here’s how to get started:

Focused woman at a desk, updating her resume for new career opportunities during International Update Your Resume Month.Start with the End in Mind

An updated resume is more than simply dusting off your ‘old’ document and adding new experience. Your resume is a key component in a successful job search, as it serves to both align and showcase your skills and accomplishment in the most effective way possible.

For the most part, before we get into our car, we have a destination in mind. The same holds true for your job search. Before you update your resume + launch your job search you need to have a destination in mind.

“Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you.” Stephen Covey

Without knowing the direction you are taking your career, you will not be able to craft a resume that will connect with an employer.

The truth is, with nearly every employer receiving hundreds of applications for each job, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your resume stands out from the competition. To do this, you start by identifying your target audience, industry, role. This first step will help you align your skills, qualifications, and experience with the employer’s pain points.

Review + Update Your Contact Information + Education

If it’s been a while since you’ve last needed your resume, your contact information may have changed, so make sure your information (email, phone #, City + State) is current.

Additionally, if you’ve earned any certifications, taken any courses, or attended any relevant seminars, be sure to add them to your resume. Or, perhaps your degree was ‘in progress’ when you last used your resume and you’ve since completed your studies. Update your resume accordingly.

Include Accomplishments

To create a stand-out resume, it’s important to align your skills + experience with your target employer’s needs / pain points.

Highlight accomplishments that will demonstrate your ability and be sure to include metrics that backup your narrative. This will help give you an edge over other applicants.

Also, make sure you are up to date on industry trends and terminology so employers know that you have a comprehensive understanding of the field.

With these tips in mind, crafting an effective resume will help you get one step closer to your dream job.

Provide Context

Your professional resume is more than a list of job descriptions, tasks performed, and responsibilities held.

For your resume to really shine, you need to provide the reader with a brief synopsis of the challenges or circumstances you faced.

Go beyond creating a multiple bullet points that state responsibilities and provide the reader with “what was happening” and answer the employer’s questions, “why should I hire you”.

Here is the difference:

  •  Increased new business referrals.


  • Generated 80% increase in new business referrals, introducing customer service strategies to revitalize relationships with key accounts, including once weekly phone calls and monthly visits to ensure clients needs were fully met.

Adding context provides the reader with insight into the impact you made and how you made it happen.

Use Consistent Formatting

Updating your resume takes more than simply inserting new information. You will also want to make sure the layout of your resume is modern, easy to read, and showcases who you are and what you do (the value you bring to your next employer).

An organized presentation is a key component of an effective resume; therefore, use a clear structure, avoid long paragraphs or blocks of text that are difficult to ready, limit your use of bullet points (vs. using a bullet point for every entry) and make sure there is plenty of white space between sections.

These steps will help employers quickly scan your resume for important information.

With careful attention paid to every detail, an effective resume can be a powerful tool in helping you reach your career goals.

Wrapping Up

Making sure a great first impression is essential when applying for any job, so be sure to update and proofread your resume several times before submitting it. Double check to make sure your entries are error free and that you have weaved keywords throughout your document.

In this digital age, having an up-to-date online presence is just as important as having a well-crafted resume. Invest the time and effort into creating an engaging LinkedIn profile and ensure all your public social media accounts are professional and appropriate. Employers may do online research on applicants

These days, there are lots of tools available to help job seekers create their own polished resumes and portfolios, so be sure to do your research before you start writing. You may even want to consider enlisting the help of a professional resume writer, especially if you have little experience in this area.