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Update Your Resume After Your First Job (Even If It's Only Been One Year)

Katy mentors and educates young professionals and helps those beginning their careers and financial journeys to make informed decisions.

When to Redesign Your Resume

When should you rework your resume?

The resume you had straight out of college might have been awesome, but once you get a little experience under your belt, it's time for a revamp.

The first "real" job you have working in the industry will give you skills that should be highlighted on your resume to help you advance your career to the next step. There are certain stages in your career when you need to take a look at your resume and make sure it's up to date:

  • When you finish college
  • After the first year at a job in a new industry
  • You begin a job search
  • You acquire new skills or certifications

One year into your first real job out of college is a perfect time to update your resume. You have had some experience in a new industry, and you have a better idea of what people in your field are looking for in a resume. Hopefully, at this point, you also have a better idea of what YOU are looking for in your career path as well, which will allow you to tailor your resume to the next step you want to take.

Obliviously, beginning a job search is a great time to update your resume. Work on getting your resume up to date and start building a job hunt tracking tool. Even if you are not actively seeking a job, it is important to keep your resume up to date.

Your college resume may have outdated work experience and skills you need to remove.

Your college resume may have outdated work experience and skills you need to remove.

Remove Outdated Information

As you beef up your resume with the later steps, you'll need more room. Trim down to only the necessary information, so the more important aspects of your resume have a bigger impact.

Any experience you have before college can be taken out. Use this chance to really narrow in on the important aspects of your "Education" section. All you need is the schools you attended, the major(s) and minor(s) you graduated with, your GPA, and your graduation date.

Information You Should Remove:

  • Clubs and organizations, unless specific to your field and still relevant
  • Outdated certifications
  • Work experience not relevant to your current field
  • Previous job duties that are irrelevant or detract from your desired role

Use Result-Based Job Descriptions

Restructuring your resume with this strategy instantly takes you from "Recent College Grad" to "Professional."

How do you do it?

With each of your relevant positions, you need to list relevant results you produced for the company. Do not list the responsibilities you had in that position; instead, focus on how you made a difference.

All of the bullet points or statements you use to describe your previous work experience should emphasize how you produced results. It is not enough anymore to say you performed function X for company Y. Instead, you need to be specific in describing the results you produced. How did you fix a problem or rise to a challenge? It should be obvious to anyone reading your resume that you are the perfect person for the job.

Using a little SEO can help your resume get more attention from big companies.

Using a little SEO can help your resume get more attention from big companies.

Use SEO In Your Resume

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. If you already knew that, then chances are you work in an industry where having keywords in your resume is very important. Even if you work in an industry not closely related to tech or the Internet, SEO can still play a key role in getting you hired. Implementing a few basic SEO principles when crafting your resume makes it more likely that the system a company uses to filter out resumes chooses yours for the next step instead of kicking it out. Three-quarters of companies use some sort of applicant tracking system, most of which use algorithms to filter out qualified applicants based on keywords in the resumes they submit. There are three essential SEO rules all resumes should follow:

Use Keywords

Your resume should include keywords that would be searched for by a hiring manager. Be sure to repeat the keywords used in the job posting if they apply to you, and be specific.

Additional Pro Tip: You should be using the keywords approach to any text information you submit to a company if you want to be considered for that role, not just your resume. They will search all submissions like your cover letter or job descriptions you provide for previous work experience. Get your keywords in there every opportunity they give you!

Submit Your Resume as .doc or .txt

All your hard work in choosing and repeating the right keywords from the previous step will be wasted if the system can't read it. This means don't use a PDF!

Don't Use Graphics

Or at least don't put any important information in them. They won't be read by the tracking system.

Give Your Career an Internet Presence

Now that you've broken into the "real world," you need to consider your presence on the Internet. This is especially important if you work in the online industry, but even if your career path doesn't involve work, you can show off on the Internet that doesn't mean potential recruiters and hiring managers aren't using the Internet to find and vet potential employees. There are a few online venues to consider when cleaning up your online presence act:


It is becoming more common practice for job seekers to put their LinkedIn profile URL on their resume or at least provide it at some stage of the application process. Even if you don't, companies you apply to may try to find you on the site, so make sure if you use LinkedIn that your profile is as up-to-date as your resume.

Employer's Website

Whether or not you are actively searching for another job, make sure any bio or resume your company has for you on their website is in line with your career goals. At the least, it should have a picture, your name, and your role at the company, so anyone checking out your experience has online verification that you are who you say you are. It also is a good opportunity to be seen by other companies in your field.

Your Own Website

If applicable to your industry, consider hosting your resume on your own website with a portfolio of your work. Paying to host this site just for self-promotion might not make a lot of sense for most people, but if your job or the job you want is very Internet- or media-based, many prospective employers will expect to see it.

Future Resume Updates

This overhaul of your resume should have taken a while if you were really thoughtful about how to craft your past accomplishments and had a lot of work experience to pull from. How often should you update your resume in the future? Once a year is a really good idea. Take time, either with the new year or whenever your annual performance review falls, to add in your most significant accomplishments and any new skills.

Certainly, you'll want to refresh your resume whenever you begin a job search if only to get more familiar with your own qualifications. Also, be sure to brush up on technical interview tactics; these will help you think about what deserves to be on your resume.

© 2016 Katy Medium


Matt Nelson on June 15, 2017:

For our work experience sections. So instead of listing duties, we should show how we impacted the organization with accomplishments and achievements. So the whole section should be accomplishment based? How do I start?