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How to Update Your Resume in 15 Minutes: With Free Resume Templates!

Pen and eyeglasses atop a resume
If you’re wondering what it takes to have an effective resume that will win you interviews, keep this in mind: Your resume is a living document that must be regularly updated to reflect your professional growth. How often should you update your resume? More often than you may think.

Once upon a time, most of us left our (then paper) resumes in a drawer, only digging them out for a bit of tweaking when a new job search was imminent. In those days, it was also regular operating procedure to send the same version of our resume to all prospective employers. Nowadays, career experts recommend tailoring our resumes to each job for which we apply.

Even if you’re not in the market for a new position, in today’s social media oriented recruiting environment, it’s wise to keep your resume up-to-date at all times. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “The number one reason employers engage in recruiting on social media channels is to attract potential candidates not yet looking for a new job.”

It’s entirely possible that a recruiter will find your impressive and extremely up-to-date resume during a LinkedIn search of passive candidates and offer you the job of your dreams.

Updating your resume is well worth the effort. It also won’t take nearly as much time as you think. Armed with the following tips, and free resume templates, you’ll be able to update your resume in 15 minutes flat!

First impressions count
If you believe that your career path needs some extra explaining, replace your objective statement with a brief bio or summary statement instead, suggests Forbes contributor, Ashley Stahl. Your summary statement “should consist of a few quick, strong statements at the beginning of your resume to summarize your skills and experience,” says Stahl.

Keep it short, sweet and pertinent
Adding a new position to your resume? See if there’s something else you can remove. For example, if you’ve been in the labor market for over 10 years and have a college degree, you can probably strike any mention of where you attended high school. Likewise, unless you’re applying for a job as a preschool teacher or camp director, it’s safe to say you can omit your babysitting experience. Recruiters recommend keeping your resume no longer than two pages and including only job experiences and skills that are relevant to the position for which you are applying.

Make it easy on the eyes
Just as it’s impractical to have a resume that’s too long, it’s also unwise to have a resume that’s difficult to read. Formatting matters. Dense blocks of single-spaced text discourage hiring managers from reading your resume whereas “white space draws the reader’s attention to important points,” says Mark Daniel writing for LinkedIn. Daniel also encourages resume writers to “stick with black and white color” and basic fonts such as Arial, Tahoma or Calibri. Using bullet points instead of paragraphs to list job responsibilities, titles and skills also makes your resume more reader-friendly.

Provide a link to your professional online profile
It is highly likely that an HR professional who is interested in your resume will view your online profiles before setting up an interview. Be proactive by including a URL to your professional LinkedIn account on your resume to further showcase your skills and expertise.

Embed keywords
Remember: Before your resume lands in the hands or on the monitor of the hiring manager, it may first need to pass muster with the company’s applicant tracking software (ATS). Give yourself the best chance of getting past the ATS, by using relevant and industry-specific key words in your resume. A quick, easy tip is to align your resume to the keywords within the job description. But don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing!

Emphasize accomplishments
Sometimes your resume can read more like a job description rather than a document that showcases your professional achievements. Amy Michalenko a career services manager who writes for The Muse, suggests using “accomplishment statements” to describe your achievements. One way to emphasize the impact of your accomplishments is by using numbers.

“Add in as many facts, figures and numbers as you can,” Michalenko says. “How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? Instead of saying you effectively managed a budget, list how much money you managed, and how much money you saved.”

Accomplishment statements such as these will provide quantifiable proof of how you can help a prospective employer if you join their company.

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