If you haven’t worked on your resume in five years or more, it’s very likely that you need to start all over again.
The resume writing world has changed considerably in the last ten years or so, so it’s reasonable for even the most career-minded people to wonder how to write a resume by today’s standards.
Here are some of the resume style conventions that have come into fashion over the last few years — you can ignore any resume advice that doesn’t fit these criteria, as it might make your resume look “dated!” Some pointers to get you started:
1) Paragraphs for “Duties”, Bullets for “Achievements”: Some people really go overboard on the bullets, and it makes it look like they don’t know much about good resume writing.
When you describe each of your previous jobs, start with a concise paragraph of prose that will describe all of your duties — what you did from day to day.
This shouldn’t be the main focus, though: Your achievements are far more important. Achievements are the ways in which you went above and beyond — and each of them deserves their own bullet point. Write each one in an active voice, beginning with a lively verb.
2) Focus on Recent Achievements: If you have a very long career, you might wonder how to write a resume that demonstrates all of them. The truth is that you do not need to delve too deeply into your work from more than ten years ago. When you reach that ten year mark, start a new heading that reads “Selected Past Achievements” or something along those lines.
In your “Past Career” section, provide employers and position titles, but skip specific dates. This helps protect you against age discrimination; in any case, your most recent ten years are what really counts!
3) Prioritize What’s Valuable to the Employer: The employer provides you a blueprint for writing a good resume in the form of the job posting. You can use this to figure out not only what information you should include, but what order to include it in.
For example, if the very first required skill listed in the job posting is “cold calling,” you know that your first bullet should pertain to cold calling. If your most recent job has not had any cold calling, you should still be sure to mention it as quickly as possible, perhaps in a summary of qualifications at the top of page one.