Don’t Let Your Outdated Résumé Ruin Your One Chance to Make a Good First Impression

Man editing his resume on a laptop

Your résumé is typically the first impression you get to make on an employer, so you want to make sure it’s a good one. If you haven’t tuned yours up in a while, you might be damaging your job prospects by neglecting doing those updates.

Fortunately, Allison Pohle of the Wall Street Journal recommends some simple and effective ways to keep your résumé current so you have an edge.

Customize Your Résumé for Each Job

This tip might be more time-consuming than you’d like, but it is logical. You probably have all sorts of past jobs and experiences that are only relevant to certain roles. If you want to find work as an accountant, your time ten years ago as a waiter at a restaurant probably won’t benefit you and is better left off.

Cater your résumé to each position so that your experience tells a story of why everything about you makes you perfect for this role. It’s not about sharing everything you’ve done, but rather the highlights that paint the best picture for this employer.

Create a Résumé that Passes the System

If you weren’t aware, most jobs nowadays are so inundated with applications that your résumé likely won’t even initially be looked at by a person. Rather jobs have applicant tracking systems that scan your résumé for the right keywords that will flag it if it is pertinent to the position.

So you might think you’re being creative by using unique word choices or styles of organization, but you might actually be shooting yourself in the foot. Look at what qualities an application asks for from an applicant, and make sure you are including those words.

Make Everything Simple

You’d like to imagine a recruiter will read every word of your résumé that you carefully crafted. Unfortunately, they often don’t. Recruiters are skimming and looking for any reason to discard you as an applicant.

Make each section of your résumé clear to the eye so the recruiter can find whatever they want immediately. If you make them search for what they care about, they might find it easier to just move onto the next candidate.

Highlight Your Achievements

Not every job has glamorous duties, so don’t waste space talking about menial tasks. Instead, spotlight your big moments from that job. Were you the lead on a long-term project?

Did you finish a difficult task far ahead of expectations? What moments stand out that made you an asset to the company?


It’s easy to become overwhelmed and miss a few minor mistakes, but your résumé is a bad place to make those errors. Typos will always make you look negligent about proofreading.

Take a few extra minutes to read everything and make sure it’s right. It’s no good having great work experience if you’re tarnishing your first impression with errors.

Your résumé will likely need tweaking every time you send it out, so don’t see updating it as a finished product. It always pays to see how it aligns with the job you’re after.

For the full list of 18 tips to make your résumé looks its best, read the Wall Street Journal’s article and let the Résumé Tips, Tricks, Tools & Hacks infographic below guide you through the process.

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