Getting Ready to Update Your Resume? Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes


It’s inevitable—the time has come for you to update, revise, or retarget your resume. So you pull up your current version and get ready to edit... but before you do, keep in mind some very common mistakes. They may seem minor, they may seem like nitpicking, but these “minor” mistakes can make a huge difference on how the reader perceives you and your resume. Are you as detail-oriented as you claim? As good a writer and communicator? As professional? Or have you inadvertently introduced red flags about your candidacy?

1. Losing The Original Version Of The Resume. Remember to save a new version of your resume. Don’t get rid of the old or original version of your resume; you’ll need that for your career development portfolio so that you can refer back to it years from now. After all, two (or five) years from now, when you’re asked about your internship during your first summer, how much will you really remember? Or will you draw a blank in the job interview? You’ll want those old versions of your resume to help you prepare for interviews, to draw additional information to help you retarget or recast your experience, etc. So when you’re ready to update, revise, or retarget your resume, then save it as a new document and then make your changes to that.

2. Forgetting To Update The Name Of The Resume. Your prospective employer wants to see the most current version of your resume, not some outdated version. If you use a date as part of your document name (e.g., Doe John resume Nov 2014.doc) then be sure to update the date! You don’t want to send out a resume in 2014 that is dated 2010. Likewise, don’t forget to update your name, if that’s changed (e.g., Doe-Smith John resume Nov 2014.doc). And if you’ve included the target employer as part of the resume name (e.g., Doe John resume for Acme Law Firm Jan 2014 doc), then be certain to update that!

3. Letting Word To Autofill The Properties. Check properties section before sending out your resume! If you are using your current employer’s computer, then the properties section may automatically populate with their information. It is, of course, a faux pas to send a prospective employer a résumé that you clearly prepared on your current employer’s equipment. You can either leave the properties section blank, or fill in your personal information.

4. Inconsistent Punctuation And Formatting Issues.  Whenever you make changes, review your resume carefully to be certain all the formatting of the new or revised content is consistent with the existing formatting in your resume. You don’t want to inadvertently introduce errors! If you’re using the serial comma (A, B, and C), which many the hiring attorneys indicate their preference, then continue to use the serial comma. Likewise for other formatting like double spacing between sentences (unnecessary these days), justification, line spacing, font type and size, and other “minor” issues. Whatever you chose, be consistent.