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I haven’t updated my resume in years! What do I do?

JFCSPgh Resume Career Development Services

Dear Career Counselor,

There’s a job I really want to apply for – but

I haven’t updated my resume in years!

What do I do … ?

Dear Career Counselor,

I am currently working, but want to look for another opportunity. My resume is really outdated … how should I get started?

Dear Career Counselor,

A friend told me about a job that I really want to apply for, but I don’t have an updated resume – what should I do?

Whether you are on an active job search or not, sitting down to work on your resume can be a daunting task. If it’s been a while since you have applied for a job, you may know that you need to update your resume but you may be unsure where to start.

Resumes have changed a lot in the last few years.

It’s important to showcase your skills and expertise in a format that lets the person reading your resume know that you are aware of the current resumes trends, career branding and how to present yourself in the best light.

We offer two resume-oriented workshops at JFCS Career Development Center:

Career Branding & Your Resume, where you can learn about the latest resume styles and how to think about your professional brand, and our Resume Clinic, where you can have dedicated time to work through the components of your resume that you might be struggling with and get support and feedback from a career counselor and other workshop participants.

The biggest issue we see as career counselors are duty-driven resumes. Almost always, job seeking clients utilizing our services have resumes that focus on the tasks and responsibilities of their previous positions. What we do is help our clients write action and achievement-oriented resumes.

Resumes that get the most attention from recruiters and human resources representatives are those that highlight the contributions that person has made in their particular roles, rather than the day-to-day “stuff” they did in their job.

If you have a task-oriented resume that you want to pivot into a more accomplishment-focused resume, take each of your bulleted statements under your job and ask yourself: What happened because I did this? Then write your answer as Action + Result. Your accomplishments in your previous jobs are the results of your actions.

Think about times when you have saved your organization money or time. Think about efficiencies you have put into place, ways that you have increased productivity or customer satisfaction. Examples include: Created streamlined process for internal communication that decreased paper consumption by 20% or Assisted in smooth implementation of a new software program throughout the agency to all employees in a swift manner.

Notice that these are qualified statements, they show something happened because of what you did in your job. These statements articulate the value that you added to the organization you worked for in your role.

JFCSPgh Resume Career Development Services

Keep your resume updated every six months.

The best thing to do, whether you are actively job searching or happy in your current position, is to keep your resume updated every six months. If you are currently working, a great time to update your resume is around the time of your annual performance review. That is when your accomplishments, recent projects, and other key items will be freshest in your mind.

Set a reminder for yourself six months from your annual performance review to check in on your goals for the current year and take that opportunity to not only see where you are in regards to your current job, but also what contributions you have made, exciting projects you have worked on, etc. in the last six months.

This way, if you find out about an opportunity that interests you or you make a new networking connection your resume will only need minor edits before applying for that job or emailing to your new connection.

The career counselors at JFCS Career Development Center are experts at helping you clarify your career branding and help you with crafting a resume that shows off your talents in the best possible ways. For resume assistance, please give us a call at 412.422.7200.