3 ways to update a stale resume

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

May 27

Resumes are living things that need consistent and constant updating. After all, you are consistently accomplishing stuff on the job, right? The bigger and better the accomplishments, the bigger the need to update your resume.

But even if you have updated your resume, you are starting to think it is a bit stale. The resume, like fresh bread, is still bread, but not as good three days later. There are some things you can do to freshen up your resume. The bread? Not so much.

Look at your resume as a different person

When you walk into a retail store, have you ever thought about why the merchandise is where it is? It is placed where it is placed because someone went through a great deal of work to present what they think will sell the best in the best traffic positions in the department – right along the aisle.

But people managing the department get all involved in the merchandise within the department. So to get perspective, they put on their “customer walking along the aisle” hat and then describe to themselves what they see as they walk along the aisle. Is it what is selling the best? Is it what they want to portray? Are the themes right? Are the colors?

Become a different person and read your resume like a recruiter or hiring manager. If you were hiring someone, what would your resume be to that person? Yeah, it needs some work, doesn’t it…

Ask someone else to look at your resume

I’ve had a lot of my former coworkers ask me to look at their resume and I’m happy to do it. It provides a great way for someone with great knowledge of their work – who is also a hiring manager – to look for improvements.

The big deal for you if someone looks at your resume? If you really want their opinion, you can’t be defensive about getting feedback. And you can’t let the “threat” of feedback prevent you from asking someone to look at your resume.

I’ve been asked by two people if I would look at their resume; one even offered to pay me for the advice. I said to both to just send it to me (they have my e-mail address) and offered to do it for free to the one saying they would pay me.

Crickets. Hey, who cares if you have a stale resume and aren’t getting any interviews. No skin off my back.

Read your resume and ask, “So what?”

A different way to get the staleness out of your resume is to not simply read it, but to question it. The best question to ask? Read a sentence and ask “So what?”

That question helps you focus on what value your work brings to the hiring manager. If the answer to “so what” isn’t so great, your work is not coming across as the incredible value you bring to someone lucky enough to hire you. Punch up your answers and show the value you bring.

Stale resumes are common

Ask a recruiter how many resumes they read that just don’t cut it. Thousands. And like stale bread, stale resumes get thrown in the electronic trash can.

Turn your stale resume into one that gets you interviews. Doing so will help your resume stand out from the boring rest.

  • Ganesh Melatur says:

    Scot, I like your columns on resumes, which were forwarded to me by a friend.

    Can I request you for a quick review of my 2-page CV, whenever you have the time?

    If yes, would appreciate your email address.

    Thanks, Ganesh

    • Thanks, Ganesh. I have a resume review service that I offer to people. You can sign up through that.

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