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5 Tips to Refresh Your Resume

Are you applying for jobs and feeling like your resume is going into a black hole? Are you worried that applicant tracking systems are using artificial intelligence (AI) to screen you out? Has the style of your resume not changed in 15 years?

It’s a new year, and it’s time to refresh your resume so it can give the polished, professional impression you hope for and improve your odds of being selected.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a resume redo, so start with just a few things that will make an immediate visual and practical impact. Keeping the following points in mind will bring your resume into 2023 and will highlight your skills, competencies, interests, and experiences.

Headings Count

Use a bold font in areas that you want to draw attention to and consider a different font for headings than the rest of the content. Use bold instead of italics to highlight areas or words.

Don’t put your address in the heading because it’s not necessary for an employer to know where you live. If they think the commute will be too long or don’t know that you are planning on relocating, it can be a reason for them to reject you.

Make sure to update your email address if it is outdated, unprofessional, doesn’t make sense with your name, or clearly shows your birthdate or graduation year. You want to appear very professional and there’s no reason to share your age with them. Examples: mamalovescookies@aol.com; susietomfrankie1964@aol.com

Font Matters

Select a modern font, generally one that is sans serif, like Arial, Avenir, Calibri, Helvetica, or Tahoma. The look you are going for is clean, easy to read, and modern. Avoid Times New Roman and other fonts with a lot of swirls or if they are more graphic in nature.

Mirror the Job You are Targeting

A well-written, 3-4 sentence Summary Statement at the top should sound like the person they are seeking and be authentic to who you are. Soft skills can be interwoven into this section.

Keywords and Concepts Belong Up Front

Have a section that highlights your Skills or Areas of Expertise before your Experience. Unless you are a new graduate or entry-level, this area should have those keywords that showcase your hard skills.

Examples:

  • Performance Management
  • Public Speaking
  • Executive Presentation
  • Budget Forecasting
  • Media Buying
  • Contract Negotiation
  • CRM
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Labor Relations
  • Crisis Communications

Avoid Communication, Time Management, Collaboration, Dedicated, Responsible. These are terms that everyone uses and claims to have. You can showcase those soft skills in the Summary Statement at the top of your resume.

Consider Using Color and Simple Design Strategies

Consider formatting your heading, like using a white font on a navy-blue shaded background, and a different color for the job titles. Try creating a box around an area like Key Accomplishments or Career Highlights and share these in the top third of your resume. Avoid tables, graphics, and resume templates that use them. They are a pain to update and applicant tracking systems don’t always like them.

Working on these 5 things will be a great start, but there is likely more to do. Consider how many jobs to list, how long the resume is (no longer than two pages), and how to best showcase what you’ve done and what you want to do. A professional resume writer or career coach will be able to guide you in this process. You will feel a huge sense of relief knowing it’s being done by a professional and that it’s not hanging over your head.

Even with a professional resume writer refreshing your resume, you will still need to slightly tailor it for each job. They should show you how to do that quickly and effectively.

So, get started and set aside a couple of hours to make a few of these changes. Or, if that makes your head spin, find a professional resume writer and outsource the job to them! Do what you do best and hire someone who is experienced and knowledgeable and who can do what they do best. That way, if your dream job comes up, you will be ready to apply!

Looking for help with your resume? Reach out to Purple Ink!

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Peggy Hogan
Peggy Hogan
Peggy is Purple Ink’s Vice President of Talent Services. She is passionate about helping organizations be more effective at sourcing and retaining top talent and loves the powerful effect connecting people to the right opportunity can have on their lives.

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