Update Your STEM Resume Month

Fall – The Best Time to Update Your STEM Resume

September is International Update Your Resume Month. This post will provide compelling reasons why you should update your resume at least once a year and tips and ideas for keeping track of your achievements and contributions. Let’s begin!

I love the fall season. There’s something about the weather, the coziness, the drinks, the holidays, and the colorful leaves that make that satisfying crunch as you walk over them.

It’s also the time of year when my calendar gets jam-packed with many returning clients looking to update their resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and other documents. I love hearing about all the cool and exciting science and technology initiatives they have led and participated in since we last worked together.

For many other people, it’s the time of year when kids return to school and hiring picks up to fill positions before the slowdown of the holiday season. During this time, Hiring Managers are eager to use all their resources and budget allocations before the end of the year. Therefore, the push for hiring is strong!

Why bother with a resume update?

A strong resume (and LinkedIn profile) is valuable whether or not you are job searching.

Most people avoid updating their resumes unless they have to. I get it. It’s hard to write about yourself objectively, and depending on your circumstances, the resume writing process can be emotional, time-consuming, and painful.

I’ve also encountered many people who are content with their current situation but get contacted by a Recruiter, Hiring Manager, or a personal or professional acquaintance for an opportunity out of the blue. If they haven’t updated their resume in a while, they are left needlessly scrambling and stressing about updating and submitting their resume for consideration.

Many people underestimate the time, energy, and effort that goes into producing a strong, branded resume that connects your experience and unique value to your career target(s) and resonates with your target audience. My trusted colleagues and I spend between 10 and 20 hours on a single project. If you find yourself in a position where you need your resume updated immediately for an opportunity, it’s often too late for us to help you.

My friend and colleague, Kris McGuigan at Professional Courage, refers to this as “getting caught with your professional pants down.” Don’t let this be you.

Additional resume benefits include:

  • Being more agile and proactive in responding to new opportunities.
  • A renewed sense of confidence by taking stock of your achievements.
  • Identifying patterns and career themes to support your next move.
  • Understanding yourself better by identifying what has and hasn’t worked.
  • Preparing for the worst-case scenario of losing your job suddenly.
  • Negotiating a higher salary by emphasizing the value you bring.

How do you start the resume update process?

The key is to create a list of your key achievements, contributions, and learning takeaways. These experiences will serve as talking points you can expand upon in an interview.

Start by thinking about how the team, department, organization, etc., are better off now than before your hiring.

For Science & Engineering Professionals:

  • What new or existing technical problems did you solve?
  • Did you make any new R&D discoveries that were published or patented?
  • Did these discoveries amplify the organization’s competitive industry position?
  • Did you develop a process that improved productivity, efficiency, and performance?
  • Did you lead or support new projects or programs that launched a new technology?

For Information Technology (IT) Professionals:

  • What types of IT projects and programs did you lead and support?
  • Did you contribute to reductions in infrastructure costs?
  • Did you improve business performance and efficiency?
  • Did you improve end-user satisfaction and information sharing?
  • Did you proactively diagnose routine and complex IT issues?

For Accounting & Finance Professionals:

  • Did you lead or support business and finance system implementations?
  • How did you analyze scenarios and draw conclusions to solve business problems?
  • Did you create processes that improved cash flow, profits, and revenue growth?
  • Did you work with business leaders to optimize budgets and decision-making?
  • Were you challenged to communicate financial terminology to different audiences?

For Healthcare & Medical Professionals:

  • Did you reduce readmission rates, healthcare delivery costs, and pharmacy costs?
  • Did you develop and introduce methods that diversified revenue streams?
  • Did you manage programs that improved regulatory compliance, quality, and safety?
  • Did you maintain composure during crises and ensure timely care delivery?
  • Did you develop, implement, or support any healthcare training programs?

What about quantifiable achievements?

Quantifiable achievements add impact to your resume and justify interviewing and hiring you over someone with a similar background.

You can quantify your impact in terms of people, dollar amounts, timespans, volume, rankings, and percentages.

You can use numbers effectively on your resume by:

  • Making a habit of tracking your job performance.
  • Gathering and organizing data from performance reviews.
  • Using ranges if you don’t have access to precise numbers.

All that said, not all achievements are quantifiable. Certain professions, such as IT, sales, engineering, etc., provide more opportunities for quantifiable achievements versus research-oriented roles. Using numbers should make sense.

Here are some examples of unquantifiable achievements.


  • What have you led your team(s) to achieve?
  • How have you facilitated collaboration?
  • Why are you a trusted subject matter expert?
  • How have you trained or mentored teams?


  • What opportunities did you create through your relationship-building skills?
  • Did you repair an important relationship? What was the impact of your actions?
  • Have you partnered with other teams to advance important business initiatives?
  • Were you nominated or selected to join any committees or task forces?


  • When and why did you earn promotions?
  • Why did you receive company or industry awards?
  • What were you consistently praised for and why?
  • What problems and tasks did you go above and beyond?


  • Did you automate a process that expanded opportunities?
  • How did you influence change within your team, department, organization, etc.?
  • How did you drive the adoption of a new tool, process, technology, etc.?

Willingness to Learn:

  • What hard and soft skills did you learn and apply?
  • Did you pursue any new degrees, certifications, or training credentials?
  • Did you attend any industry conferences, seminars, workshops, etc.?
  • How did your growth mindset contribute to the team or company?

Final Tips for Updating Your STEM Resume

While most of your efforts will focus on updating your most recent experience, it’s important to review your resume for other sections that may also need updating to position you for your next promotion or desired career step.

  • Header: Did you update your contact information change?

For more details, check out STEM Resume Breakdown, Part 1 – How to Create an Attractive Resume Header.

  • Headline: Are you positioning yourself for the role you want vs. the one you have?

For more details, check out STEM Resume Breakdown, Part 2 – How to Craft a Branded Headline.

  • Summary: Did you include relevant, distinguishing features from your background?

For more details, check out STEM Resume Breakdown, Part 3 – How to Write a Striking Resume Summary.

  • Skills: Did you include relevant technical, transferable, and adaptive skills?

For more details, check out STEM Resume Breakdown, Part 4 – How to Highlight Skills on Your Resume.

  • Experience: Did you use strong action verbs to illustrate your impact?

For more details, check out STEM Resume Breakdown, Part 5 – How to Write the Experience Section.

Updating your resume at least once a year is a proactive way to stay agile, reflect on your wins, and re-establish your value in a way that resonates with prospective employers. Use the strategies and additional resources featured in this post as a starting point. Finally, if you need some help, don’t hesitate to contact a professional resume writer. Book a free meeting with me using the link below.

Scientech Resumes is dedicated to helping science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals find fulfilling work through targeted, branded, and keyword-optimized resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and other career marketing documents. Schedule a FREE 20-minute discovery session to get real-time feedback on your current resume and job search strategy, or connect with me on LinkedIn. Let’s get you where you want to go with greater results!

Kate Williamson

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