Make or Update Your Resume When You’re Unemployed

Don’t fritter away your unemployment time curled up in the fetal position. Learn how to make a resume or how to breathe new life into an old and outdated resume. Then use it to leverage a new and exciting job search.


Making a New One or Updating an Old One

Sometimes the best opportunities knock when you’re least expecting it….Unemployment is typically not a situation you voluntarily choose. Here are some tips for pulling together a resume when you’re out of work.

Why do you need a resume?

It’s professional.

It provides a “container” into which you may organize important aspects of your employment and education history.

If an employer doesn’t expect a resume it can impress.

Resume Formats

Today it’s possible to have both hard copy resumes and online resumes stored with various job search services such as Monster. You should have both.

When you go to any in-person interview make sure you have a few copies of the final polished resume even if they have already seen an online version. It is good business practice to give one to every person present for your interview.

Resume Design

Simple is the rule. Avoid at all costs fancy designer fonts. Use a simple serif font like Times New Roman or a simple sans serif font, like Arial or Verdana. Artists may be a bit more daring with design and format but ONLY if it helps to sell their skills.

Print out your hard-copy resumes on white or off-white paper. A good quality printer paper will do, or you may opt for a more professional resume quality stock. Black or dark gray type on light paper—best design choice and easiest to read.

If possible try and limit your resume to one page. If you have tons of professional experience, however, your resume could stretch to multiple pages. Content should always support your career goals and highlight your achievements. Cut out any “stuff” that isn’t necessary.

Tip: If you’ve worked in an industry in which your job produced quantifiable results, ie. “in 2007 you helped a client sell a half-million widgets, which was double what he sold the previous year,” or “worked with a customer to cut costs by 60% at the same time we helped drive sales up 40%,” then consider including metrics like this in your employment experience records or somewhere on your resume.

Resume Content

Commonly the elements you’d include on your resume include:

Contact information

Career objective / Professional statement


Work Experience


…and not necessarily in that order.

How you finally decide to arrange these components is very subjective, is often dictated by the norms of your particular industry, and many books have been published on the topic. You can easily find free samples of resumes online for nearly any occupation. If you don’t have a specific profession, create a general resume.

Tip: Your state workforce development or job services office can usually provide you with resume writing resources.

Check the document templates that came packaged with your computer—most have a handful of resume templates from which you may choose.


# Josie 2013-05-08 11:02
I took a gamble on a prospetive bank job through a job agency. It was suppose to be a permanent position after a 90 day probation period, however I was "let go" after only 2 weeks (they said I wasn't catching on fast enough, but in my defense the training was excedingly poor). Now I'm unemployed and need to fast track a new job, so I want to update my resume with some of the skills I learned on the bank job. But I don't know if I should list as past employers the bank or the job agency, or should I leave them off the job applicaions/ resume all together as I only worked there a short time and this may reflect badly upon me.
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# Percy Tucker Robinso 2017-07-13 16:58
looking for a job
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# Percy Tucker Robinso 2017-07-13 16:59
I need a good paying truck driving job
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