Personal Finance

Got 20 minutes? Use it to snag your next job

Key Points
  • If you dread the idea of job hunting and redoing your resume, try these simple tips.
  • Experts recommend updating your resume every six months so you’re ready for a new opportunity.
Pali Rao | E+ | Getty Images

How long has it been since you looked at your resume?

You've acquired skills and experience since starting your job – but on paper, your resume shows you as a fly trapped in amber.

Perhaps you're not looking to make a change, yet experts say the time to forget about your professional profile is never.

You're not the only one. More than a third of people save resume updating until they're actually job-hunting. And 8 percent can't even remember the last time they changed their resume, according to

Bad idea, says Vicki Salemi, career expert at, who recommends updating your resume once or twice a year. That way, you stay up to date on your new skills and experiences, so if you want to make a change, it's ready to roll out.

You want to look closely for things that date you or make you look stale: old skills, an accomplishment that has been surpassed by a bigger one, and old-hat resume clutter, such as the availability of references or objectives.

Set your timer. You can do these five things in 30 minutes or less.

Toss these things

There's no reason at all to have "references available upon request" on your resume. "If potential employers need references, they'll reach out," Salemi said.

Look under your skills section. Are there old software programs or tech that no one uses anymore? Remove these, too.

If your resume still has your snail mail address, ditch it. No one is going to contact you using the U.S. Postal Service.

Check your fonts

Stick to the basics: New Times Roman, Verdana or Garamond, or Calibri, Helvetica or Arial if you prefer a sans serif typeface. Don't be playful. It reads as unprofessional.

Leave Comic Sans for personal use, and check resumes online for examples of up-to-date, appropriate layouts and design.

Add social media

Potential employers often check social media accounts to see if they can glean anything about a candidate. Most employers – 84 percent – recruit using social media, according to the Society for Human Resource Management LINK.

You're hired
You're hired

Add links to your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts – and make sure your tweets are something you'd want a prospective employer to see.

Replace the objective

For starters, the objective (to get a job) is obvious. Of course you want a job. Another thing about the objective: it's all about you and what you want.

The executive summary, on the other hand, is a value proposition that says "here's what's in it for you." Take 25 words to create a "wow" statement that tells who you are and what you've done.

What's new?

Look back over your last year. Did you get a promotion? A title change? Maybe you were in charge of a substantial project.

Keep your resume up to date by adding to it on a regular basis. When it's time to job hunt, updating the resume will be one less thing on your to-do list.

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