It’s important to keep your resume updated even if you’re not looking for a new job. After all, you never know what’s around the corner. It might be something terrible like layoffs or the sale of the company, or it might be something fabulous like a possible promotion or really great offer from another employer. If nothing else, keeping your resume current will remind you of all the wonderful things you’ve done, and the work that went into those things. I recommend throwing a bullet point or two onto the document every time to tackle a new project or accomplish something really cool, and then having a longer look about once a year. Also, be sure to save your updated resume onto a portable drive or in the cloud so you can find it even if your work gets ransom-wared or your computer dies an untimely death.
In terms of formatting, I am a huge proponent of simplicity. I have almost always found fancy, pretty resumes to be off-putting at best, and attempts to hide a lack of skill or experience at worst. Additionally, some applicant tracking systems can’t read anything fancy, so get rid of those columns and borders, eschew the header and footer, and let them be impressed by the contents. Some rules:
- No pictures. Just don’t do it. If you’re an artist or a model, let your portfolio speak for you, but keep the pics off the resume. Many employers have non-discrimination policies that compel them to throw out resumes with pictures, and even if they don’t, your photo is a waste of space. They’re not interviewing you because you’re cute, they’re interviewing you because you’re qualified.
- Two pages is fine. I prefer two pages because you can really focus on your accomplishments. In fact, a recent study by the professional resume writers at ResumeGo showed that 2-page resumes were more than twice as likely to be chosen than shorter versions. So go ahead and use that second page! (But be sure to put your name on top of page 2, and remember to paste it in instead of using an actual header.)
- Make your name nice and big. Within reason, of course. We’re not talking 25-point font, but your name should be the largest item on the document. The body of the document should be 11- or 12-point font, so for your name, 16 or 18 is a good place to start.