How Often Should You Update Your Resume?

Life certainly has a way of throwing you curveballs. What you think is pure bliss one moment can instantly turn sour the next. Even people who thought their career was secure could suddenly face a dire situation. That said, if you have been employed for quite a while, love your job, and see no reason for leaving, then it’s likely you don’t feel any pressing need to update your resume paper.

Though it’s natural to feel this way, you should know that you are not doing yourself any favor by letting your resume go stale. Here are three of the main reasons to keep your resume current:

  • You’ll understand how far you’ve come – having an updated optimal resume helps remind you of your strengths, skills and achievements, allowing you to track the progress and trajectory of your career.
  • You’ll be ready for better opportunities when they come knocking – what if a call from a headhunter suddenly came along, offering a better job and a better salary at a better company? You certainly don’t want to be caught working on your resume under a tight deadline.
  • You’ll be prepared for the worst – an immediate job loss can be jarring. Whether you get fired or laid off, the transition period is bound to be highly stressful, and you don’t want the quality of the optimal resume that you’ll be sending out to potential employers to add to your worries.

Even if you’ve had just that one job for many years, it’s likely that your skills and responsibilities have changed since you first started work. From the time you sent out your resume paper, you’ve probably had additional training, attended seminars, completed major projects—maybe even earned a higher degree. Realize that just like you, your resume is a work-in-progress that requires your attention, and thus needs to be updated from time to time. But how often should you do so?

The job market is a competitive one, and having a resume that works is critical. One seemingly mindless mistake could spell the difference between being considered for the job and losing the chance altogether. Consider the following issues that employers claim to be the biggest reasons why they dismiss a candidate:

  • Outdated, missing, inaccurate, and/or irrelevant details and information
  • Generic and not personalized for the position
  • Words copied mostly from the job posting
  • Lack of demonstrable or quantifiable results
  • Typos

Are you sure your resume paper or cover letter doesn’t have these problems? If not, then you have to reexamine your resume and scan it for issues. It would help if you also made it a point to revise the contents of your resume every time you…

…learn a new skill or level-up an existing one

Continuously developing your skillsets demonstrates your commitment to your job, as well as your willingness to learn. Regardless if it’s a hard or soft skill, as long as you earn an accreditation, certification, or proficiency for it, then it needs to go in your resume. Likewise, you need to subtract just as you must add, so as you update your resume, get rid of any outdated skills. For instance, it will be wise to remove any proficiency in any software that may no longer be in use. Aim for relevance and shaping your optimal resume to fit the company’s needs.

…complete a major project

It’s generally good practice to list down any major projects that you are working on at your job and add them to your resume every time you complete one. This way, when it becomes necessary to leave your job for another, you already have a comprehensive list of your noteworthy accomplishments on the ready. Include key details such as your role in the project, the issues you resolved, the benefits to the company, etc. Make sure to cite quantifiable results.

…receive an award or degree

Awards and degrees are notable achievements, and so it goes without saying that they need to appear on your resume. Just as it is with improving your skills, educational attainment shows your eagerness to learn and expand your horizon, and awards demonstrate your ability to excel. Simply put, awards and degrees help convince potential employers that you can be an asset to their company.

…get promoted

After celebrating your promotion, don’t forget to add your new position to your resume, which should always include the latest information about your career and job experience. Aside from the job title and responsibilities, explain why you were promoted, such as helping the company meet its targets, leading a team project, producing exceptional performance, and so on. You’ll want to make this reason prominent in your promotion entry if you're going to get callbacks for interviews.

…get laid off or fired

Your resume needs to be an honest depiction of yourself, and so it goes without saying that the good must come with the bad if there are any. If you get laid off or fired, that information must go into your optimal resume, especially if it’s very recent or represents a substantial gap in your employment record. Potential employers may pry about the subject later on, and you don’t want to give the impression that you misled them with the wrong info.

If your termination was due to a layoff and was in no way related to your performance or ability to do your job, you can use your cover letter to provide a brief explanation for it. Employers are more considerate of laid-off employees, and so mentioning it might make them more empathetic to your plight.

The most important personal marketing document you own

Your resume is the groundwork for your ‘brand’ and your primary job-hunting tool. When your optimal resume is in good shape, the doors of opportunity will seemingly open up on their own for you. Take the time to keep your roptimal esume current because you never know when it will come in handy.

Need help updating your resume? Our professional writers here at Resumeble can help ensure that your resume is current, so you’ll always be prepared. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services.

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