6 Ways To Update Your Resume During COVID-19

Updated December 8, 2022

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If you’re out of work due to the impact of COVID-19 or seeking a career change, you may be searching for jobs available now. Starting a job search can feel overwhelming, especially given the current circumstances. There are, however, several steps you can take to give yourself the best opportunity for success. 

One of the most important things you can do is to update or create your resume. In this article, we will discuss the best ways to create a resume employers will notice as we weather the impacts of the coronavirus.

To upload your resume on Indeed, visit my.indeed.com/resume. You can also toggle on the “ready to work” option in your profile to indicate you’re available to start a new job immediately. If you're interested in professional and personalized resume feedback, learn more about Indeed's free and paid resume review services at indeed.com/resumehelp.

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The importance of updating and tailoring your resume

As you search for jobs during COVID-19, it’s necessary to update your resume so your background and experience align with the positions you’re looking for now. To give yourself the best chances of standing out in the candidate pool, it is also important to tailor your resume for each job you apply for, prioritizing key skills and strengths as it relates to each specific job and employer.

This practice is especially important if you’re looking for job titles or industries you haven’t worked in before. For example, if you were a flight attendant and cannot find another flight attendant job in the short-term, you might be looking for other jobs that align with your skills and interests. While you may not have experience with those specific job titles, you can prioritize the transferable skills on your resume that make you a great candidate.

Pro tip: If you're a veteran, you can fill out our Military Indeed Resume Review questionnaire to receive personalized feedback from a professional resume writer.

Related: News: 92% of COVID Job Switchers Report, “Life Is Too Short To Stay in a Job You’re Not Passionate About”

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How to write a resume during COVID-19

As you seek job opportunities, consider the following practices to create a resume that will stand out to employers under the current circumstances:

1. Review your resume format and adjust if necessary

If you already have a resume, you might be using a standard chronological format. This format is useful when you have three to five years of experience in the same job title and industry. 

If you’re searching for other jobs and industries you haven’t worked in the past, it might be helpful to consider a functional or combination resume format. These format types prioritize your relevant skills as opposed to your professional experience, which may be more useful information for employers when assessing your fitness for the job.

Read more: Top Resume Formats: Tips and Examples of 3 Common Resumes

Functional Resume Format
Image description

The title of the image is "Functional Resume" and it shows the parts of a functional resume and an example.

The left side of the image defines the section of a functional resume. They are:

  1. Name and contact information

  2. Summary

  3. Skills grouped by theme

  4. Any relevant professional experience

  5. Education

The resume example reads:

James Kennedy
555 Cherry Ln.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48111-9626

Customer Service Representative with over three years of experience resolving complex, customer inquiries. Passionate about building strong customer relationships, driving brand loyalty, and increasing customer engagement.

Area of Experience
Retail Sales, Data Entry, Microsoft Office, Typing, Complaint resolution, Service-based selling, Fluency in French and Spanish.

Process Streamlining
Created customer service email scripts used across the company to interact with customers. Single-handedly created customer service representative training manual, reducing onboarding process from 8 to 6 weeks. Reduced average customer representative call time by 90 seconds with intuitive online training.

Complete Resolution
Answered an average 50+ calls per day from unsatisfied customers related to delays in shipment, order mistakes, and lost orders. Achieve 97% average customer satisfaction rating, surpassing team goal by 12%.

Service-based Selling
Consistently exceeded application targets by 10%+ with innovative up-selling techniques. Pioneer development of improved system for following up with unsatisfied customers, reducing customer churn by 6%.

Cloud Clearwater, 2017
Customer Service Manager: Managed customer relationships via phone and email to obtain payments, resolve inquiries, and up-sell programs.
Customer referral program: Spearheaded project, increasing customer base by 15% in less than six months.

Tradelot, 2016
Customer Service Representative: Resolved customer inquiries via phone and email, consistently exceeding targets and pioneering processes for better customer satisfaction.

Coral Springs University, 2009-2013
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

2. Update or write a resume summary or objective

Including a resume summary or objective can be especially useful during these times to provide additional context about your background and situation. 

  • A resume summary is a brief statement about your skills, impact and experience and is appropriate for people with at least a year of relevant professional experience. 

  • A resume objective is a statement about your short- and long-term goals and may be more appropriate for new graduates or people seeking to change jobs or industries.

It might help to slightly alter the tone and verbiage of your objective or summary to point out the ways your skills and experience will benefit the organization during this time—for example, excellent customer service, flexibility and adaptability, and eagerness to work in essential roles.

Here are a few resume summary examples that provide context around the COVID-19 job search:

  • Self-motivated university graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education and critical experience in learning technology.

  • Energetic community outreach manager experienced in creating and completing outreach programs in urban communities.

  • Organized dental office associate with seven years of experience maintaining effective client schedules, billing policies and office workflows.

Here are a few resume objective examples that provide context around the COVID-19 job search:

  • Organized and accomplished flight attendant seeking jobs in customer service to exercise a passion for providing an exceptional customer experience. Proven history of positively affecting flight and pre-flight satisfaction rates by 15%.

  • Motivated arts graduate and aspiring fashion buyer with advanced communication skills seeking to grow my knowledge of the couture industry with online retail jobs available now.

  • Accomplished human resources professional seeking to leverage extensive knowledge of employee relations, business and internal communications in a customer-focused position that works directly with clients and ensures a positive experience.

3. Review the job description

One of the most important steps you can take when creating or updating a resume is to review the job description for the positions you’re applying for. Doing so can help you understand what the employer is looking for in a candidate, and therefore tailor your resume to prioritize and emphasize those skills, qualities and experiences. 

Look for keywords under sections such as “requirements,” “education requirements,” “key skills” and “qualifications.” Place those that align with your background toward the top of your resume so it’s easy for employers to find. Weave other keywords throughout your resume, including your professional experience, education and skills sections.

For example, if the job description for an executive assistant says they are looking for a candidate with skills in “accuracy and attention to detail,” you might make one of your experience bullet points read this way: “Reduced spending on office supplies by 15% with new inventory process by exercising accuracy and attention to detail.”

Related: Transferable Skills: Definitions and Examples

4. Explain your impact as it relates to the job

On any resume, it’s important to draw clear lines from your previous accomplishments to the job you’re applying for. The easier you make it for employers to understand the impact you can make in the role, the more likely you are to stand out in the candidate pool. If you're working in a coronavirus-affected industry and you're seeking opportunities in another field, highlight what skills and experience you have that can translate to another position. 

For example, if you have strong time management skills, consider explaining how you can use this skill in a variety of industries and how it's beneficial to a remote position.

Here’s another example: if you are a flight attendant applying for roles in customer service, you should prioritize and explain the impact you made in your past jobs with your customer service skills. In practice, your professional experience section may look something like this:

RIVER AIR Flight Attendant Lead | 2015–2021

  • Improved customer satisfaction scores over 20% throughout tenure by continuously planning and implementing service changes.

  • Trained and mentored over 45 new flight attendants, providing training in customer service skills, emergency management and safety standards.

  • Coordinated in-flight response and air-to-ground communications to resolve customer emergencies.

5. Make your resume easy to read

On average, employers only spend six seconds reviewing each resume, so it's important that they can find key information quickly. Here are some resume formatting tips to accomplish this:

  • Keep your resume to one page by removing outdated (jobs you held more than 10 years ago) or irrelevant information

  • Use ½” to 1” document margins

  • Select a plain and professional font such as Arial or Helvetica

  • Make your font size 10 to 12 points (smaller may be difficult to read, and larger may appear unprofessional or distracting)

You should also be sure to prioritize the information on your resume as it relates to the position. For example:

  • Include your years of experience in your resume summary if it aligns with the employer’s requirements—this can be years of experience with a certain skill or in a specific job or industry

  • Place your skills section near the top of your resume if the employer emphasizes specific soft or hard skills in the job description such as proficiency with certain software programs or advanced customer service skills

  • Place your skills section above your professional experience section if you are changing jobs or industries

  • Place your education section near the top of your resume if you are a recent graduate with little professional experience. Place it near the bottom of your resume if you have at least two years of professional experience. With over five years of experience, you can remove your attendance dates, GPA and other less-relevant information.

6. Upload your resume to Indeed

To easily apply for jobs, upload or create an Indeed Resume. When set to “searchable,” employers can locate your profile on Indeed and reach out with relevant job opportunities. 

If you previously used the #readytowork tag in the summary of your resume, we now recommend removing that tag. Our new toggle update makes it even easier to tell potential employers that you’re ready to work instead of requiring you to reformat your resume.

Read more: Show Hiring Managers That You’re Ready To Work

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