Though many of us in the DC metro area thought it might never come, spring has arrived. If you’ve been outside clearing gutters, sprucing up the yard, or maybe scrubbing or reorganizing around the house, you’re not alone. Why not carry that same springtime mindset of renewal to your resume? Your resume should be a living, dynamic document that evolves as you do, professionally speaking. Here’s a plan to update your resume so it tracks with your most current professional aspirations.

1. Reflect on Your Professional Self

The rumors are true: renewal begins from the inside. Get comfortable in a quiet place and ask yourself some fundamental questions. What professional experiences in the past year mattered? How did they influence who you are presently? Have your goals changed and if so, in what ways?  What do you want to do next?  The insights you glean can help reshape your resume so it nests with your strategic path forward. Now let’s move on to the more practical.

2. Shed the Old, but Keep the Relevant

Start by weeding out content that is outdated or no longer matters. Some experts advise purging any experience older than ten years, but I don’t recommend following that advice absolutely. Regardless of the date, you likely acquired valuable competencies from certain work experience that has shaped your professional skillset. Here’s a guide: if the lines describe technical work you no longer do, or don’t relate to what you want to do next, let them go. But if they add relevancy or a fuller context to your skillset and potential, find a way to summarize them.

One approach is to add an entry at the end of your resume, for example, “Experience Prior to 2008:” that lists your job titles. If titles don’t tell it all, go ahead and add a line or two describing the professional competencies you acquired in these jobs, such as “analytical thinking,” “leading effective teams,” “training and curriculum development,” or “logistics planning and mission support.”  You get the idea.

3. Edit Your Ten-Year Story

Now move to the major part of your resume, that which covers the past decade of your work experience. Review your insights gleaned from Step 1 and remember your primary purpose: to tell a story that highlights your professional competencies as they relate to your potential for a future position. As always, you must write for your audience, not yourself. Because your resume should not serve as your personal memoir, resist the urge to feature events solely because you remember them fondly or proudly. The entries should describe an achievement or competency that relates to the job you want next.

4. Construct Compelling Entries

If you can translate an event into achievements that describe a positive impact, then you’re cooking. But to catch the hiring official’s eye, the entry should be written in a way that strengthens the picture of your overall skillset and inspires the reader to imagine you in the new position.

An effective formula is to write an achievement/impact statement that relates to specific professional skill you want to feature, such as managing a project, executing a large budget or contract, or leading change during a transition.  Then use the same achievement / impact formula for all entries in that section, and ensure they support those professional competencies. If those skills don’t immediately jump out in your entry, consider adding an intro before each work experience section that begins with “Professional Competencies,” “Key Skills,” or similar language. Then add a few specific skills, clearly and succinctly.

5. Reconnect with Your References

This might seem a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how easy it is to lose track of your references. While confirming their contact info, ask your references to review your revised resume, or at least the segment for which they serve as a reference. They might remember your work experience in ways you didn’t, especially at a more strategic level. And if your references are also professional mentors, share your career goals with them. They’ll often offer a description of your skills in ways that can amplify your resumé.

6. add additional info.

If you’re just beginning to build your resume, consider reading about how professional competencies can serve as a building block to a compelling resumé. If you have military enlisted experience, a recent article about why civilian companies should hire NCOs might jump-start your thinking about how to translate your military skills to civilian ones.  Good luck with your spring revision!

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Melissa Jordan is an Executive Writer at a US Government agency. With more than 20 years in professional communication and over 16 years of experience working in cross-cultural environments, her most valuable lessons have been learned by trial and error.