(This article was used as source material and quotes for an article written by Doug McPherson for the Denver Post.)
The first step when updating your résumé is to look at your job history. Do you have jobs listed that go back more than 10 years? If you do, you can start by getting rid of your oldest information.
A good place to get started writing about your current job is to see if your employer has a job description for your position. You can mine it for your responsibilities since these documents are usually hyper descriptive.
If you don’t have a job description from your employer, think about what you do on a typical day and use that to get the juices flowing. Add in any special projects or monthly responsibilities. Use action verbs to describe all of your responsibilities. Action verbs are words like inspected, adapted, implemented, created, and produced.
Writing a description of your job responsibilities is a balancing act. You need to find the right balance of detail, since too much makes for a long and unreadable résumé, and too little won’t do you justice. A good general rule is to aim for a job description that is no longer than 1.5 inch on the page.
Once you have a job description, move on to your accomplishments. Quantify these as much as possible with percentages, sales figures, increases, and decreases.
Always keep documentation of company sales or improvements that resulted from your work, letters of appreciation, awards, recognition, and good performance evaluations. These documents will help you come up with strong accomplishments for your résumé.
Check your summary of qualifications to make sure that it reflects your current responsibilities, not just your last job on the resume. Add in any key words or skills that you have that employers are looking for now that you may not have highlighted in the past.
Then check over your old job descriptions. Did you do something at your old jobs that you should emphasize now? Make sure to add these in too.
Also check and make sure to include any new skills, technologies, special projects, and certifications you have achieved since your last update.
Make sure to revisit your résumé about once a year and keep it updated. No matter what the economy is like, it's always good to be ready for the next opportunity.