Employment: How to Revamp Your Résumé

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Haven’t updated your résumé since before you had kids? Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to snag a new job opportunity and need to revamp your résumé …

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How to Update Your Résumé

Focus on Keywords and Numbers

If you’re been out of the game for a while, learn the new digital rules. Since most large corporations use resume-scanning software, or an HR person who manually eyeballs stacks of resumes for things that pop out, focus on keywords and numbers. Keywords should reflect the specific position for which you’re applying. So, for example, a marketing pro’s résumé might mention social media, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), etc. Also, no matter the field, use percentages and statistics to illustrate past successes (how your work increased revenue or productivity, the number of people you trained, etc.).

Flaunt Your Mom Accomplishments

Use your employment gap to tout your mom accomplishments. Put a positive career-focused spin on the period during which you weren’t working full-time while raising your children. Highlight any volunteer or community service initiatives you’ve been involved in or skills you’ve updated during your hiatus (if you’ve taken a course or done freelance work of some sort). Whether you launched a well-read blog, helped your church raise money for a cause, or chaired a committee at your child’s school, that could be just the type of drive a potential employer is seeking.

Keep It Simple

Just like in your child-filled home, neatness trumps fancy frills. Resist the urge to experiment with fonts, colors, or over-the-top design elements (unless you happen to be applying for a design-related position). Craft your resume so that the format is easy to read, clean, and categorized into sections that make sense (backwards chronological order works best).

Create an Online Job Profiles

Think outside the 8.5 x 11. Today’s job hunters do more than send off a stack of résumés to various companies. When creating your resume, be prepared to tweak it and pull from it to create online profiles that can help employers find you. For instance, if you’re not on LinkedIn, head over ASAP and thoroughly fill in the career experience and skills sections. You can also sign up for job alerts and upload your résumé to job search sites, many of which require a short bio and listing of job history.

Do Your Research

Get some help. Just as you relied on parenting books, expert advice, and friend/family input when you were learning how to be a new mom, don’t be a résumé DIY-er. Ask friends, family, and/or former colleagues for their feedback or to proofread your materials. If you’re not sure where to start or are entering a whole new industry, make an investment in yourself by working with a résumé service—it might be the wisest route toward future employment.

As you envision your next career move, start doing some thinking about the value you can add to a company, and get it down on paper. Once you’ve laid the groundwork for perfecting your resume, you can get to the next step of the job hunt: the call back! However, it's important to stay vigilant about your rights in the workplace. Time-sensitive discrimination claims, for example, may require prompt action to ensure legal protections are upheld and justice is served.

Did you start a new job after having kids? What was most helpful resource during your job hunt?

Dawn Papandrea is managing editor of The CollegeBound Network and Employment Network, a network of sites that includes, and, which aim to help people find success through educational endeavors and career services.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
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