Spring Cleaning: A Resume Refresher (PART 1)

With the onset of the new spring season many of us have a renewed energy to de-clutter, organize, and perform a deep clean to our homes, that same energy can be applied to our professional lives. While the idea of cleaning can quite literally be applied to cleaning our desks, organizing our files and supplies and even updating our electronic devices to be more efficient, we must not forget to address our professional development. This includes having a fresh, clean resume.

Though you may be working at your dream job and have absolutely no plans to start looking for opportunities elsewhere, your resume should be something that you update regularly. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a “Spring-cleaning” list to help you with the process of creating and maintaining a solid resume.


1. Start with an outline – focus on the basics

Your personal contact information is a given – name, phone, email, and if you prefer, location. In the days of LinkedIn and other online portfolio sites, it may also be good to include links to your profiles.

Start with a brief summary of yourself and your skill-set. This overview replaces the dated “Objectives” section of your resume to reflect current trends and gives a more accurate look at your goals in the workforce.

Update your work history! Make sure your resume reflects an accurate history of your work experience, dates of employment and even your current position. In general, cover the last ten years of your employment history, including older positions only if they are applicable to a position you may be applying for. If you have employment gaps, include a brief explanation, especially if you were enrolled in school or picking up freelance work.

Include any special certifications, software expertise or skills you have which can be used in your industry.

Finally, make sure your most recent education is noted. Undergraduate and above should be included, nothing prior necessary.

2. Pick a design

Find a template that will work well for you and your work. Doing a quick web search and downloading a template that works with your document program will help get you started.

  • Find a resume template that is neat and professional. Of course, if you are a graphic designer, there are many out-of-the-box unique resume ideas out there full of fun graphics and even electronic presentations.
  • One-page format is still the preferred length.
  • Be sure to use a legible font (and type size that does not require the zoom tool to read), decent margins and some white space so that it’s easy on the eyes.

3. Fill in the blanks

Employers want to see results and value. What can you bring to the table based on what you have done in the past? This is the hard part and where you will have to spend the most time writing, rewriting, reviewing and rewriting again. If your budget allows, professional resume help may be an option. A trusted friend who happens to be a writer/editor or better yet, in the HR industry, can be a great resource to help you hone your resume.

Learn some of the key words employers will look for; this can change from company to company. It’s also important to note the words employers do NOT want to see.


Next week, we'll finish the list and look at even more ways to 'Spring Clean' your resume.