For many professionals, updating one’s resume is a scary prospect. Not only does it indicate a change, often after an extended period with one organization, but the task itself is daunting.
Some of the most significant challenges professionals face when updating their resume is knowing what to include. Furthermore, they’re tasked with figuring out how to cover everything without being too verbose.
Whether you’re seeking a new career path or simply trying to keep things up to date, here are three tips for updating your resume with relevant experience.
Remove Old Jobs
When you’re first entering the job market, it makes sense to list jobs that might not pertain to your current role to show proof of employment. As you advance throughout your career, that logic no longer holds true.
To make room for your updated relevant experience, you need to trim the fat by removing old jobs. Start by looking at jobs that don’t pertain to your most recent role. Additionally, if you’re currently searching for a job, remove anything that isn’t relevant to your new path.
As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to go back any further than fifteen years in your employment. For example, if you’ve been in the accounting department of the same company for twenty years, you’ve proven your experience. As such, you don’t need to show potential employers that you also worked in the accounting department of another business prior to that.
Instead, highlight how your position has changed over the years and how you’ve stayed up to date with best practices. You’ve proven your loyalty and employability; now you need to prove that it’s an asset, not a hindrance.
Summarizing Prior Experience
If you feel that your lengthy background is integral for showcasing your experience, you can use a summary. Include a brief section at the end of your employment experience, indicating the relevant jobs.
For example, “Prior to my experience with X and Y, I worked as a consultant with Z company for 15 years, gaining experience in A, B, and C.”
This will highlight other relevant information without making your resume too bulky or distracting.
Change the Formatting and Visual Set-Up
Updating your relevant experience provides an opportunity to change the presentation of your resume. In some cases, changing the format and layout is necessary to fit all of your information. It could also be a matter of modernizing your CV.
Experiment with different layouts and visual stimulation to find a resume format that encompasses your relevant experience as well as your professional image. You can use ResumeBuild here to drop in your information and see how it looks with different formats, without fighting with a word processing application.
Icons and Graphics
Modern professionals are utilizing graphics and icons to highlight skills on their resumes. Not only is this an eye-catching way to stand out from the competition, but it also serves as a valuable space saver.
For example, you can use graphics to rate your experience with various applications on a scale. If the position you’re applying for is looking for someone with experience using Canva, Buffer, Excel, etc., you can use dots to indicate your level of expertise. This helpful feature adds value to your resume and fits nicely in a small column.
Simple, relevant icons are perfect for breaking up blocks of text and contribute to building a personal brand.
Use Professional Language and Descriptive Keywords
In the past, resumes were often a mixed bag. Applicants were invited to include their hobbies and lifestyle. Resumes have evolved tremendously over the past twenty years. Now, it’s integral to cut the fluff and keep things purely professional and relevant to the job.
When listing your skills, keep them simple. Unless you’re specifically applying for a job that asks for experience in commonly used applications (Microsoft Word, for example), it’s not worth listing them. Likewise with dated programs. While your vast experience with Windows Vista might have been a selling point in 2010, that skill is no longer relevant.
Another consideration when updating your resume to include relevant experience is to use keywords. More businesses are using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to collect resumes and pre-screen candidates. These systems use artificial intelligence to identify keywords that are pertinent to the job posting, similar to Google.
When selecting keywords, choose things that stand out from job postings. Review job postings pertaining to your target career and highlight any commonly used words or jargon across the posts. These are the words that an ATS is most likely to pick up on.
Replace Your Objectives
The objectives summary is no longer best practice when crafting a resume. If you have one, swap it out with a professional summary outlining your career experience. Punctuate this with a bold headline that answers the call of job postings in your industry, and include some of those relevant keywords.
Updating your resume with relevant experience has two components: including relevant job information and ensuring that your overall resume is modernized. By focusing on these three ways to update your resume, you’ll be ready to face the next stage of your career.