5 Ways to Update That Outdated Résumé ASAP

If you have a job you’re satisfied with, updating your résumé might seem like a waste of time. But job loss can arrive unexpectedly; new management might lay off your division, for example, or decide that your project isn’t a priority. In light of that, it can pay to keep your résumé as updated as possible at all times.

Spending a few hours every few months updating your résumé won’t kill you, especially if you’re rapidly learning new skills and taking on new responsibilities. But what exactly should you update, and how? Here’s a breakdown of ways to tweak that outdated résumé.

Delete Aging Résumé Keywords

Technologies rise and fall in popularity. Give your résumé a scan—are there skills on there that no longer exist? You might have been the world’s finest Symbian developer back in 2009, but Nokia whacked that platform a few years later (RIP!). And trust us when we tell you that nobody cares about your Windows XP experienceunless you’re applying for a job that deals primarily with legacy Windows software (lucky you!).

In other words, make sure that all your listed skills and keywords are up-to-date. Even a single aged skill or phrase (“synergy!”) can murder your chances at winning a competitive position.

Whack That GPA

You probably wrote your first résumé right around the time you graduated from college or graduate school. Because you almost certainly lacked extensive experience, you likely put down your GPA somewhere on your résumé—and that’s okay! When you’re just starting your career, your potential employers will often use your GPA as a way to determine your dedication and abilities.

But as you get older, your GPA matters less and less. If you’re several years into your career, you can delete that bit from your résumé with no repercussions from a recruiter or hiring manager. However, keep your school on there—many companies still want to know where you went, even as a rising percentage of them claim to not care about degrees at all.

Re-Evaluate Your Skills

If you’ve progressed in your career, chances are pretty good that you’re applying for a different kind of job than the one you originally wrote that résumé for. As an example, you might feel it’s finally time to land a gig in management, if only because you’re tired of being a developer.

Whatever job you want, it’s a good idea to rewrite your résumé’s bullet-points of accomplishments and projects. For instance, your current document might highlight all the ways you produced clean, relatively bug-free code on a tight deadline. But if you want that team leader gig, you might want to change your achievements to show off your management and collaboration skills.

Even if you don’t intend on doing anything different in your next gig, it can pay off to give your bullet-points a nice polish every so often. Let’s say you were an early adopter of Kotlin, but never listed it on your résumé because it was a relatively little-used language; now that Google officially favors Kotlin over Java, it’s time to list that prominently—especially if you’ve ever used it in a project. 

Take Out the Old Jobs

If you haven’t updated your résumé in quite some time, you might still have your entry-level gigs listed in your ‘Experience’ section. It’s worth taking those out; it’ll free up more space for your recent skills and accomplishments. Besides, hiring managers and recruiters likely don’t care much about the entry-level coder job you had a decade ago. 

Include Those Repos (and Other URLs)

If you haven’t updated your résumé in several years, you might be missing out on one of the most critical things that helps land jobs these days: GitHub and other project repositories. If you have places online where you’ve stored your code and finished projects, put them on your résumé and other application materials—it’s likely that the hiring manager will want a look.

3 Responses to “5 Ways to Update That Outdated Résumé ASAP”

  1. Janet Jenkins

    Many people worked for the Government or at Gov. contractor companies – or financial institutions. They signed non-disclosure forms. They can’t just show projects, proprietary information, company names, dates and other swag to someone who wants “proof” they can produce. Bad advice.

  2. Contractor

    Bad advice. Store and make available for public view the confidential work products you produced for your employer or client will get you sued for violation of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Not only will the hiring manager take a peek but so will the rest of the world after a nice, easy hack of your stuff. Moreover your work products can be copied by the ‘manager’ who may be looking for a quick fix to his problems by harvesting docs, code, strategy documents – you name it to boost his own position. You provided the freebies, so why pay you? Look this author of this 5 minute read, one Nick Kolakowski has “written for The Washington Post, Slashdot, eWeek, McSweeney’s, Thrillist, WebMD, Trader Monthly, and other venues. He’s also the author of “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps” and “Slaughterhouse Blues,” a pair of noir thrillers.” The background isn’t geared to give solid tips. WebMD??

    • Sorry to let you know, but he is ABSOLUTELY correct! I don’t know of a single employer I have talked to in the past two years that didn’t EXPECT a GitHub account with code in it! You MUST have this. You also MUST not violate your NDA. Putting up code that you are working on on the side, or open source projects you have contributed to, will not violate your NDA and still give a potential employer something that they can read and evaluate. So ABSOLUTELY, POST THAT CODE!! 😉