5 Steps to a New Resume in 2016

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions every January, but few of us stick with them beyond a few weeks. I have one suggestion for a resolution you should stick with this year that will reap benefits far beyond January. And the best news is that you don’t have to do it for more than a week or so!

5 Steps to a New Resume in 2016

Dec 30, 2015

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions every January, but few of us stick with them beyond a few weeks. I have one suggestion for a resolution you should stick with this year that will reap benefits far beyond January. And the best news is that you don’t have to do it for more than a week or so!

Refresh Your Resume!

What do I mean refresh your resume? I mean that it’s time to take out your existing resume (you do have one, right?) and make sure it’s still accurate. If you haven’t done this exercise in a while, chances are there are plenty of things about your current job that you can add to your resume. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job outside your company or a higher position within your company, making sure your resume is current will be a huge help when that time does come. Take an afternoon and work through these five easy steps to start the year off right.

1. Start With Current Events

The best place to start is to look at things you’re doing in your job right now. Take a look at the last quarter of the year and review what you worked on. Were there any major projects that you finished in the last few months that you can add as accomplishments on your resume? If you have oversight for budgets or any other fiscal responsibility, did you finish the quarter or the year under budget or with a surplus? These are all great items you can put on a resume to show actual things you have done in your work history.

2. Dig Deeper Into the Past

Once you’ve exhausted the things you just finished or are currently working on, it’s time to think back further. This can be increasingly difficult as you go further back in time. Details will get a little fuzzy, but it is important to still take time thinking about events in your professional career.

Try to think back to the beginning of your tenure with your current employer. What would you characterize as the top 3-5 things you have achieved during your time there? Write them down. If you can’t think of at least three, it’s time to step up your game as you start the new year so that you can add to that list in the coming months.

If you have more than one job on your resume, spend some time thinking about those past jobs too. Don’t wrack your brain trying to come up with 3-5 examples as before, but be sure you can list at least one really good accomplishment from each of your previous jobs. Think of it as your elevator pitch for that job. You have 10 seconds in an elevator to tell someone what you did at company XYZ, what do you say?

3. Update The Basics

It may seem obvious, but things can change over the course of a year. Make sure your current address and phone number are correct on your resume as well as your email address. Any contact information is critical and must be accurate in order for people to be able to reach you.

It’s also important to check things like certifications and licenses. If you have to renew these types of things in your field, make sure you have correct dates and identification numbers as needed. And whenever you have something new for this sort of list, be sure to add it! If you’re applying for a teaching position and you just got your teaching certificate this year, you want to be 100% sure it’s on your resume where someone can find it.

4. Summarize Everything

It may seem backwards to end with the beginning, but once you update everything else in your resume, finish by looking at your objective statement or summary statement. I personally recommend a professional summary instead of an objective, but in either case, make sure your opening statement reflects what is in the rest of the document. You shouldn’t focus on getting a teaching job with your education and work history, then give a career summary related to operations management. Everything needs to be covered succinctly in those first few lines in order to entice someone to read further.

5. Final Polish

It should go without saying that you should always proofread your resume before sending it out. Print a physical copy for yourself and take out a red pen to mark it up. Then give it to a friend so they can find the spelling and grammar errors you missed.

Make sure your resume reflects who you truly are and that it’s ready when you need it because you never know when that next great opportunity will open up before you.


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