Career advice

How to update your resume for the 2023 job market

It's the start of a new year, and the job market continues to be red hot. So, if you are looking to make a career move in 2023, now would be a great time to kick off your job search. January and February are statistically the strongest months of the year for hiring. 

The start of a new year is also an optimal occasion for updating your resume. As you begin thinking about applying for new opportunities, take the time to bring your resume up-to-date with the latest standards and trends. 

Remove outdated content

If you haven't applied for a job in a while, your resume may contain information that is no longer correct or relevant. Before you even begin polishing it or tailoring it for a specific role, start by updating any information that is no longer current. For example, be sure to verify your contact information. Do you still use the same phone number and email address? Only list one phone number, preferably your personal cell phone. If an employer can't get in touch with you, then nothing else in your resume matters. Do not list a work phone number or email address. It is unprofessional to use the tools of one job to look for another. 

Also, focus on your more recent work and accomplishments. Consider removing or only briefly listing experience that is from more than a decade ago. 

Update your job title 

Along with your name and contact information, your resume should have a title across the top. This shouldn't be your last or current job title, and it shouldn't be the word 'resume.' The title of your resume should be the exact title of the job for which you are applying. Update it for the job at hand every time you submit your resume.

Modernize your objective statement 

Does your resume open with an objective statement about what you are looking for in a new job? It's time to lose that. Modern resumes begin with an introductory two or three sentences that summarize your key qualifications for the role you are seeking. The first thing an employer reads about you should be what you can do for them, rather than what you yourself are looking for. 

Once again, this statement should be modified for each job you apply to. This allows you to match your opening summary paragraph directly to the needs of the employer.

Speaking of paragraphs, are you still leaving two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence? Stop it. That habit was a hold-over from the days of typewriters and has now become passé. While it was once the standard, even Microsoft Word highlights the extra space as a typo now. 

Keep it simple 

Use a clean, modern layout for your resume. This means no heavy formatting. Do not use tables, columns, or graphs to try to make information stand out. Employers look at many resumes in a short period of time when reviewing job applications, and they like information to be easily obtained in a quick scan.

Plus, complicated formatting can cause an applicant tracking system to misread or summarily reject your resume. These are the software filters that many organizations use to screen and sort applications. 

Two pages is the ideal length 

People have often been told to fit their resumes all onto a single page, and maybe that was the standard at one time. It isn't now. Your resume should be as brief as you can make it while highlighting all of the relevant skills, education, and work experience you have that make you a compelling candidate for the job. And that information should be displayed in a visually appealing, easy-to-read way. This means it is unlikely you can cram all of that information onto one sheet of paper. 

In fact, two-page resumes tend to be more successful than single page applications. A recent study by the team at ResumeGo found that recruiters are 2.3 times as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes. So, use the space to share your accomplishments and achievements in more detail, and use white space and bullet points to create an attractive layout. 

Customize and optimize skills and accomplishments

Tailor your resume to every job you apply for. Along with the job title and opening statement as mentioned above, this can also include your work history. Naturally, you should list the places you have worked in reverse chronological order, but the details of how you describe those jobs can be tweaked to reflect the needs of your targeted position. Highlight the aspects of your work and specific accomplishments that will be most relevant to the role you are applying for. 

An effective way to do this is by showing how you used your skills to deliver results on the job, rather than listing your day-to-day responsibilities. For example, consider how your contributions improved a project, how you were able to increase revenue or sales, how you solved problems, saved time, or increased efficiency on the job. The ways you stood out at work in the past will also make you stand out as a candidate for future employment. 

Read many job postings for the kind of role you are seeking. These can provide you with valuable insights into what employers are currently looking for from candidates like you. Use this information to determine what to highlight in your resume. 

When you do list your job responsibilities, lead with verbs. 

For example, rather than saying: "I was responsible for the budget." Try something more impactful such as, "Managed the budget, monitored company performance against estimates, and prepared annual financial reports for senior management."

Add your latest tech skills 

Have you learned any new software or worked on any new platforms since last updating your resume? Keeping your tech skills up to date can impress potential hiring managers. This can include tools you have used in your personal life as well as professionally. Video editing and production as well as photo and image editing can be valuable skills along with abilities such as CSS, HTML, and SEO for a wide variety of roles. 

From software to coding and media production and publishing, use the skills section of your resume to showcase any of the ways you are tech-savvy and keeping up to date with the latest tools and trends.  

Finally, at the bottom of your resume, don't include a statement that your 'references are available on request.' Employers just assume that you will provide professional references when they ask for them. So, this sentence just takes up valuable space and could make your resume look out of date in 2023.

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