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Let’s set the scene – You find a job you love, you have five days until it closes, and you need to update your resumé.  You find your resumé and its two years out of date.  What would you do next?

  1. Leave it as is, provided you have not changed jobs
  2. If you have changed jobs, copy about six responsibilities from your role description into the resumé
  3. Do some reformatting and check the resumé has any recent training courses
  4. Get your partner to read it and ensure it’s OK
  5. Update your referees
  6. Change your email address
  7. Hire a certified resumé writer to help you

All points are somewhat relevant, however the most CRUCIAL aspect of a modern resumé being your career accomplishments.  I also recommend the last answer.  Consider this, would you hire an electrician to fix your plumbing problems at home?  No. You hire a professional resumé writer to shine a light on your abilities, skills and experiences.  So, when updating your resumé could you answer the following: 

  • Do you know your top 3 accomplishments?
  • Could you talk about them right now if put on the spot?
  • Have you listed any new accomplishments in the past two years?

As a certified advanced resumé writer, I see a lot of clients and read a lot of career documents that tells me very little about a person’s accomplishments.  Plus, when I ask clients to explain what they have done in detail, it’s often the case of “I can’t remember”.  Leaving years between resumé updates will make it more difficult to list and recall your key achievements.

In my professional experience, there is a tendency for people to fill two-thirds of the resumé with only responsibilities or tasks.  A resumé must showcase and demonstrate key achievements, your transferable skills, attributes, education, training and of course your major responsibilities.  Bear in mind that hiring managers, potential employers and recruiters want to read about your accomplishments and how they benefited the company and its customers.

I recommend updating your resumé every six months.  If your resumé is over two years old, perhaps consider hiring a professional to help you get it up to scratch and ready for the job market.  You never know when you will need a current version.  Then it is much easier to keep the resumé relevant on a bi-annual basis.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What have you recently accomplished where you were recognised by managers or peers?
  • Where have you improved or changed current work practices or business processes?
  • Where have you contributed to an organisational cost savings? How much in $ or % figures?
  • When did you solve a complex problem that resulted in a satisfied client?
  • Have you achieved a high sales profit or brought in new customer referrals?
  • Have you meet or exceeded monthly performance or sales targets?
  • Do you have a strong record for on-time completion of projects?
  • Did you bring a project under budget?
  • What have you done on a personal level that you are most proud of?
  • Did you enhance/rectify business workflows or reduce bottlenecks?

Do not be shy of your achievements, however be mindful that you do not brag about them.  Always link them to a skill or knowledge set that you have developed, enhanced or improved.  Another tip is to get endorsed for that skill and the accomplishment on LinkedIn by a supervisor, manager or peer. This will give weight to your achievements and it looks impressive as part of your on-line profile. Be proud and confident about your successes!