With a new year comes a hope for a new waistline, a new goal to quit smoking or maybe even a new defense contract job. If the latter is your personal goal, it may be a good idea to relook last year’s resume. Did you miss an error? Did something become out of date while you were sipping on eggnog and counting down to the New Year? In an article on Mashable this week, the author discussed things to leave off of your resume. A few are particularly relevant for the defense industry or transitioning veterans:

Unrelated awards and hobbies. Were you a part of the fencing team in college? Well that’s great, but unless you are applying for a position with the Fencing Federation of America, it is not necessary to keep in your resume. Likewise if you are extremely accomplished and have had many awards and decorations, congratulations. These can be great attributes for any employer to see. A wise choice, however, would be to limit your awards to the top three or four depending on how much room you have on the page. This especially goes for military awards. The merit-based ribbons are great to highlight; not so much the one you only found out you earned when redoing your ribbon rack for that ceremony.

Too much formatting. Whether you are a Microsoft Word formatting genius or a novice who has figured out how to use that fancy bulleting option in the tool bar, it’s best to follow one crucial rule. Keep it simple. If you were a recruiter or hiring manager and had to read dozens of resumes, the last thing you would want is to see “that guy” whose whole resume is written in Lucinda Blackwater font and has four different types of bullets. What you would want to see is a clear and concise summary of your qualifications, and why you would be the best fit for that particular job. Don’t think that an elaborate format will help you stand out. It will just annoy the person you want to impress most.

However, there are a couple of things that you should do while looking over last year’s resume. Keeping most important tasks up front draws the reader into your bottom line. If you hook them, they’ll most certainly keep reading. Also, keying every resume you submit to a specific position will not only ensure that you don’t get overlooked, it will force you to reread your qualifications and catch any mistakes or irrelevant information.

Although your resolutions may coerce you into changing your personal and professional goals, one thing remains the same. Hard work and perseverance remain staples in job search success. A fresh resume will only help increase your job aspirations in the New Year.

Erika Wonn is a communications analyst and proud veteran in Washington, DC. Follow Erika on Twitter @erikawonn

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Erika Wonn is a communications analyst and proud veteran in Washington, DC.