Many will include job-related goals as part of their plan for 2013. Resolutions like “get a new job”, “explore new career paths” and “work harder toward a promotion” will be made, and people will set out to achieve these goals full-force in a couple weeks. As far as a career-related goal is concerned, why wait? Get started now – and rather than focus entirely on the big picture, work on something basic that will help lead you to bigger and better things. It’s time to dust off that old resume and give it a makeover!

1. Update more often.
Many people wait until they’re unemployed and looking for a job to update experience and other information in the resume. It’s important to revisit your resume on a regular basis, regardless of whether or not you’re actively pursuing new job opportunities. Summarizing experience in a specific position is much easier to do while you’re in it, as opposed to looking back and trying to remember. You risk neglecting to include important accomplishments, new licence/certifications, and other points of success and growth in the position if you wait to update when you’re no longer there. An additional plus is simply being ahead of the game; your resume is ready to submit the second you find a great opportunity.

2. Revisit the reference list.
Don’t push references to the backburner. Have an updated list ready at all times, and ensure that all contact information is accurate by checking references regularly. We sometimes meet with candidates who have difficulty providing references because they haven’t had time prior to the interview to obtain permission and information from past employers and other professional/personal contacts. Always think of the reference list, as these contacts will vouch for your performance – a very big deal! Don’t put collecting this information off until last minute.

3. Reformat to recharge
Something as simple as making a few formatting changes to your resume can invoke new energy into your career and opportunity search. Clean up the physical look as well as grammar; streamline margins, paragraph spacing, and font sizes, and rework phrases and fragments used in bullet point form. Tone down graphic effects unless you’re a graphic designer. And whatever you do, please avoid Comic Sans font and photos of yourself within the body of the resume!

4. Simplify your summary.
What sets you apart from everyone else, and what can you bring to the position you’re applying for? Answer these questions in the short paragraph that makes up your summary. A snapshot of the professional you, the summary should be clear and to-the-point, a statement that makes a hiring manager want to know more about you. Try to avoid these overused buzzwords, and create a short but well written summary that will make them want more.

5. Skill Specifics.
The majority of our positions, especially opportunities in the IT/Tech field, are extremely detailed and require very specific skill sets and experience. It’s crucial that professionals list exact programs, hardware, software, etc. within the skill section of a resume in order to be accurately placed within a position. Be thorough and detailed, as this will save time in the long run, and you won’t have to repeat a laundry list of all your skills to all recruiters/hiring managers who contact you after you’ve applied.

Regardless of whether you’ve been with the same company for twenty years, you’ve been recently laid off, or you’re a new grad exploring job opportunities, it’s never a bad idea to revisit your resume. Make it a point to set aside some time you’ll completely dedicate to your resume (and references!) several times per year – and don’t make it a 2013 goal. Make it an all-year, every year habit!