When you begin to look for a new job, it's imperative to update your resume with exciting and valid new information. Most likely you were able to gain a great deal of experience in your latest position, so you should have plenty to add to your resume.

However, this can lead to a very specific and all-too-often neglected problem: a cluttered, packed resume is nearly unreadable for hiring managers. So now, your job is to declutter it before sending it out to be considered. Here are some tips to help you clean it up …

Rethink Your Career Goal

One way to clean up your resume is to rethink exactly what it is you’re looking for in your career. You might not want to get a job that's basically the same as your last position, particularly if you disliked it. You may feel ready to shift gears a bit.

Or you may want to remain in the same area, but with a more specific focus. Whatever your goal may be, it’s important to define it and use it to guide you through the rest of the resume. By doing this, you should be able to narrow down the accomplishments and skills, which could give you the direction you need as you move forward with your job search.

Clean Up Your Employment History / Work Experience

Another important step in decluttering your resume is to clean up your work history. There are a couple of ways that you could approach this step in your process. If you worked at your last employer for over 20 years, you could keep the job information but adjust what details you share.

On the other hand, if you’ve had a number of employers, you not only will want to rethink what details should be included under each position, but also rethink which positions should be included. Much of this will be determined by the job you’re applying for. The idea is to find details for your work history that closely matches the job you’re hoping to obtain. That could mean that you might eliminate some details from each job, or eliminate some jobs if they’re not relevant.

What Would You Want to See (if You Were an Employer)

One great way to eliminate unnecessary information from your resume is to take the position of an employer as you read it. Think about what you would look for if someone was coming to work for you. You'd probably look for specific keywords or phrases that show a knowledge of your industry and company, particularly if you were busy or if you had a lot of applicants to consider. You might also look for technology that you wouldn’t have to train them on, as well as any awards that show just how extraordinary they really are. As you’re writing your resume, it’s good to think in terms of what an employer may want to know about you.

Remember, it's always worth the time to declutter your resume, because the best applicants for jobs are often judged by their ability to get a lot of information across quickly--by keeping your resume short and sweet, you'll have a much better shot at the job of your dreams.

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