It’s an important thing to keep your resume in tip-top shape, even if you’re not currently looking to make a change in your career. Follow these five easy ways to upgrade so that when the time comes, you’re ready (or if — eek! —you find yourself suddenly without a job and need to jump back into the workforce stat):
1. Change your font: One of the easiest ways to breathe fresh life into your resume is to change your font. Helvetica or Times New Roman no longer have to be the standard. Try a different font for your name, one that is “you” and stands out (but please, no Papyrus or Comic Sans!!). The rest of your resume should be in a clean font that is easy to read. You can find lots of fonts online, Google Fonts is a great place to start. Utilizing color is another way to make an impact—just remember to do it in moderation!
2. Edit: I’m sure that whenever you last looked at your resume you did a wonderful job of going through to make the necessary edits. In addition to making sure that your contact information is correct and that there aren’t any spelling or grammatical errors, make sure to remain consistent with your tenses. Tweaking the content of your resume to highlight various skills depending on the job you’re applying for is also a good idea.
3. Cut and condense: Having too many items on your resume can make it look messy. Make sure that your bullet points and copy highlight your experience, not detract from it by being too cluttered. I think about six bullet points per position is a good number to shoot for. Consider deleting the resume objective at the top, removing your physical address, and taking out “references available upon request;” all of these small tweaks will save valuable space. Edit your skills list to remove anything that is dated. If there are gaps in your work history, try replacing the super specific start and end dates with years only. Remember: it’s the content, not the length, that matters.
4. Tweak your layout: Hiring managers often only spend about 20 seconds glancing over a resume. You’ve gotta make that time count, and a clean layout is key! After you’ve edited, cut and condensed, improve the readability of your resume. Try increasing the line spacing by setting the spacing two points above the size of your font (so 12 if your font is 10). Try using text boxes that you can move around on the page to find a layout that works for you. And make your hyperlinks live! Making sure that your email, LinkedIn profile, and various social accounts (but not Facebook, for obvious reasons) are actionable to click through makes it that much easier for an interested hiring manager to learn more about you.
5. Save in the correct formats: Now that you’ve given your resumé a little extra “oomph,” make sure to save it as a PDF in addition to a Word Doc. This ensures that your new formatting is preserved no matter what computer it is opened on. You definitely don’t want to be that person that sends an unreadable resumé to a prospective employer. Depending on the situation, send both the PDF and the word file as many employers use tracking systems to take notes on potential candidates.