It really does not matter if you are looking for a job or feeling very secure in your current position, you should always have a resume ready just in case. The thing with resumes though, is that we often create one and leave it for years, only to add a new job once in a while, but never to actually consider how modern and effective it is in telling your story.

Think about that for a second. In the era of mobile and endless internet noise, you wouldn't recommend leaving your company website with the same design and copy for several years, because your story evolves and your message needs to reflect that. And yet, when it comes to your personal story, you are more than happy to leave your resume the same as it was five years ago. 

It is time to update your resume and here are three of the first things you should do.

Think about where that resume is going.

This point is so elementary, I can't even believe I have to write it. Over the years, hundreds of people have sent me their resume to pass on to companies. I have been able to get close to 200 people jobs in tech, as a result. The first thing I notice when someone sends me their resume is the file name.

Please do not call your resume "Resume.doc" or "CV edit 16.0." Remember, the person you are sending it to is likely getting many other resumes. You want yours to be identifiable at the very least, not to mention professional and extraordinary. But now we are getting ahead of ourselves. Before you make your resume pop, first thing's first, make sure I know whose resume it is at first glace. 

Name the file accordingly. A good straight forward file name would be your own name. If you want to stand out a bit more, maybe try your name and your expertise. Something like "Hillel Marketing.doc."

Remember how people read things nowadays and modify accordingly.

Once I got past the file name, I open the resume and look at it from a distance. Before I jump into the content, I look at the formatting. Did this person design the resume well? Is it easy to read? Is the most important section positioned on top? And most importantly, how does it look on mobile?

Listen, it is almost 2019, mobile is kind of a big deal. People spend hours upon hours on their smartphones. Don't design your resume to look good on desktop only and ignore mobile. Often, taking your resume that is a word document and converting it to PDF does the trick. 

Either way, before you send your resume to anyone, open it on your phone, see how it looks, think if you would read something that looks like that, and only then, send it along.

If you can't spend the time and effort taking my behavior into account when it comes to reading things, I am fairly certain you are not the type of person I want to hire. 

Short attention spans are your worst enemy.

This point is somewhat controversial and subjective, but most people won't spend time scrolling through a three page resume. In the same way you optimize your site so that your visitors don't have to endlessly scroll and swipe, make your resume one page. 

Yes, I know what you're thinking. "I have 20 years experience. No way I can get that all on one page." Here is a newsflash for you. No one is really interested what you did in 1990. Even if that experience is relevant, keeping your resume short and sweet is much more important that including all of your experience.

Again, not everyone agrees that a one page resume is mandatory, but I think everyone would agree that a one page resume is convenient and neat. 

The rule of thumb with building or tweaking your resume is, stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about the person who will receive it. In other words, know your audience.

Published on: Dec 12, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.