Career Power-UpCareer Skills

Does Your Resume Need a Revamp?

By Paige Kassalen

I opened up my resume the other day and realized that a document that was once a perfect illustration of my skillset was now completely out of date.

It’s important to periodically revisit your resume, even if you’re not looking for a new job, because it is much easier to document accomplishments and key metrics while they are fresh in your mind, rather than months or years later.

Of course, there are tips, such as quantify accomplishments with numbers, limit yourself to one page, and make slight adjustments for each role you’re applying to, but here are four additional questions to think about when you’re revamping your resume:

Can someone find the information they need in a few seconds?

There is a big trend right now to make your resume stand out. People are using different formats, including icons rather than words, and being bold with colors. You want your resume to reflect your personality, but not so much that it ends up making it difficult for someone to find key information.

Once you’ve crafted your resume, ask a friend or partner how long it takes them to find your:

  • Educational background
  • Years of experience
  • Top skills
  • Key experiences (management, revenue generated, project outcomes, etc.)

Even if your resume is aesthetically pleasing, if someone cannot find the information they need within a few seconds, your resume will be working against you, instead of for you.

Does your resume have a main takeaway?

Many career paths are non-linear, so it’s important to make sure your resume still tells one cohesive story, with a main takeaway that aligns with the next job you want. Employers are looking for someone with a certain amount of experience in a specific subject. You want to make sure your career is building off itself, rather than looking like you have less experience than you actually do.

Using myself as an example, I list a role where my title was “electrical engineer,” but everything else has been business-tech hybrid roles or leadership positions.

In the resume bullets under my electrical engineering job, I now highlight the internal stakeholder management, client-facing responsibilities, and project outcomes, rather than the specific engineering duties.

The engineering duties are a part of my career story, but I know that the roles I am looking for in the future care more about the higher-level leadership skills I gained, rather than technical details. If I only highlighted the technical skills, it would look like I had less project management or client experience than I do.

So, as you’re revamping, think about your career journey, and then look at your resume and ensure it aligns with your intended story.

Did you only focus on the “what”?

The “what” on your resume refers to your job title and responsibilities. This could easily be copied and pasted from the job posting, and therefore is only a portion of what you should be including when documenting your experience.

You also want to think about the “why,” “how,” and “how much,” because that is where you can set yourself apart from other candidates.

For example, imagine specifying that you developed a testing procedure. If you only include those exact words on your resume, you aren’t doing your experience justice. Instead, what if you said “used Python to develop an automated testing procedure that replaced a manual process that previously required 100+ hours of manpower per year.” The second iteration provides much more detail into the “why,” “how,” and “how much,” and shows that you look at problems strategically and have experience building solutions to improve efficiency.

Is it you?

At the end of the day, your resume needs to reflect yourself, your personality and your accomplishments.

An easy way to make sure your resume is a good reflection of yourself is to include a fun fact. I know everyone starts to moan when they hear an ice breaker that is asking everyone to name a fun fact, but this is a chance to give your interviewer something to ask you about that is related to your personality. Also, don’t forget that the interviewing team might be meeting with dozens of candidates for a single job, so by putting something completely unique on your resume, you make yourself memorable.

Maybe you scuba dive, are obsessed with your dog, or love to bake. If you have room at the bottom of your resume, include something to show off your personality and make yourself stand out.

You might not be looking for a new job right now, but it is time to dust off the resume and ask yourself the four questions above. Is it easy to navigate? Do you have a main takeaway? Did you highlight more than just the “what”? Is it you?

Revamping your resume regularly is a key to positioning yourself today for your future dream job!


Paige Kassalen

Paige Kassalen has an electrical engineering degree from Virginia Tech and a Master of Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon. Kassalen began her career as the only American engineer working with Solar Impulse 2, the first solar-powered airplane to circumnavigate the globe. This role landed Kassalen a spot on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list along with feature articles in Glamour, Teen Vogue, and Fast Company. Since Solar Impulse, Kassalen worked in the manufacturing and finance industries to create implementation strategies for a range of emerging technology trends from autonomous vehicles to machine learning. She was the Chief Operating Officer at CrowdAI, a start-up named by Forbes as one of the most promising AI companies in 2021. CrowdAI was acquired by Saab, Inc. in 2023, and Kassalen now serves as the Chief of Staff for the strategy division.

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