Do a quick Google search for "resume tips", and you will find hundreds of sites offering suggestions on how to optimize your resume. There are ample tips and suggestions from page length (2 page max!), formatting, font size, chronological order, filename, etc. If you are in need of an exhaustive list of resume tips, here is one to start.
Commonly, the issue is not a lack of information on how to update you resume; the issue is over-information, where to start?
Step 1: Collect information. Read the resume tips found here as well as from other resources (websites, colleagues, industry professionals, etc.) and compare them to your current resume.
Step 2: Based on the information you collected, form your own opinions on what you think you should include on your resume. It is your resume, so it should reflect who YOU are.
Step 3: Implement. If you know what to do but are struggling with implementing the changes, try timeboxing. Set a timer for 60 minutes, put your phone on airplane mode, close Outlook, and edit your resume with the changes you decided in Step 2. Seriously focus your attention and don't do anything else. Once the 60 minutes is up, stop editing. Repeat 2-3 times over the course of 1-2 weeks and your resume implementation will be complete. Splitting up your resume editing over the course of days/weeks will help you to gain new insights on your resume that you may have overlooked previously.
1. Be picky on what advice you heed.
Just because someone gives you advice on how to draft your resume, it doesn't mean you have to follow it. Yes, this may seem counter-intuitive if you came to this page looking for "resume tips", but seriously, if they don't work for you, don't follow them! These "tips" are meant to provide you a different way to look at updating your resume, but there is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to marketing yourself on your resume.
2. Keep your resume updated - even when you aren't looking for a new job.
Even when you aren't looking for a job, you should review and revise your resume (at a minimum) annually. Annually reviewing your resume helps you add what you have done over the past year, what skills you have gained, and milestones you have achieved. Reviewing your resume frequently keeps these achievements fresh in your mind. A tip to do this is to keep a running list of what you have accomplished at your current job. When you have your yearly review with your employer, you will be able to highlight these accomplishments and then add them to your resume. When you are looking for a new job, the idea of updating your resume will seem less daunting if you keep it frequently updated.
2. Have a trusted peer review your resume.
What makes sense to you on paper, might not make sense to others who are not as close to the source of your experience. Have a trusted peer to review your resume and ask questions, provide feedback, etc. Then be picky about what feedback you integrate into your resume (see bullet point 1) . Listen to their feedback and then make a decision that is best for you. Even if you don't integrate any of their feedback or comments into your resume, you will at least have an idea of how your resume is perceived externally to others. If you don't have a trusted peer, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to provide you some basic feedback.
3. Maintain multiple resume versions.
When applying to a large company via their website, you are likely applying via an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The best format for this is a Word Document, as the ATS software will parse your resume and decide whether it fits the job requirements (based on keywords) and thus gets promoted to "human review". The formatting is essentially stripped and content such as tables in your resume can, when you are sending it to a human and a Word doc format for any online ATS systems. If you are applying to various positions, it can also be helpful to have a resume tailored to each position, just don't submit different versions of your resume to the same company as that can cause confusion.
4. You don't have to include your City/State under your contact details.
If you are willing to relocate and are applying to jobs outside of your current city, you can omit your City and State from your resume. When hiring for onsite positions, many hiring managers only consider applicants in close proximity to their site. This means if you are applying for a job in "Washington, DC" and list "Los Angeles, CA" under your contact details on your resume, your resume may be pushed to the side. If you are willing to relocate or already plan on moving near to the hiring city, omit your City and State from your resume contact details. They only need your email address and phone number to contact you.
If you are looking at your resume and are in desperate need of creative inspiration, here are some free templates to consider: