If the most recent version of your resume is on a floppy disc in that lower drawer of your desk that you only venture into when it’s the place of last resort for finding something you’ve lost, it’s definitely time to update it (as well as save it on the Cloud!).
If you’re like most professionals, you only update your resume when you choose to or have to begin a new job search. When you’re at one job for several years, you can become comfortable and forget what areas of professional growth were important to you as a job seeker. Updating your resume regularly can expose the gaps in your skills and experience and reinvigorate your desire for career self-improvement. There are compelling reasons to regularly review your resume to ensure it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice. Here’s why:
Presenting Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert and Thought Leader
Speaking at conferences, contributing articles to publications, or giving quotes to the media as an expert in your field are all excellent ways to grow yourself professionally without leaving your current gig. By keeping your resume and LinkedIn profile updated, you can pitch yourself to the media or conference organizers as well as be more searchable and findable on LinkedIn for opportunities beyond job changing.
Gigging for Side Work
Even if you’re not looking for a new full-time job, you may decide you want to pick up some freelance work (and additional income) or collaborate with someone on a side project. And if a great opportunity lands in front of you, you don’t want to be scrambling to get your resume cleaned up. Keep an updated file of your resume on hand.
Be Searchable and Findable on LinkedIn for New Opportunities
Just because you’re not looking for a new job doesn’t mean someone else isn’t looking for candidates with your experience and achievements. Recruiters or people looking to collaborate on projects are often actively keeping an eye out for the perfect fit. If they call you up asking for your resume or come across your outdated LinkedIn profile they are unlikely to be impressed. But if they see an up-to-date resume or LinkedIn Profile detailing all of the impressive things you’ve done recently they might just reach out to you. Over 85% of job opportunities reside in the hidden job market so if you can’t be found you’re missing out on many more opportunities than appear in the public job boards.
When a Promotion Comes Up
Even if you don’t plan on leaving your current company any time soon, promotions do arise, and you’ll need to submit a recent resume if you hope to be considered. It will look much better to your employer if you have a professional-looking resume ready to go rather than providing an old version or something you hastily put together the night before. Making excuses is not a good first impression. By having an updated resume on hand, you’ll be able to get your application submitted in a timely manner, showing off your experience, work ethic, and enthusiasm for the new position.
In Case the Worst Happens
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we’re forced to make a career move when we weren’t expecting it, especially in this turbulent pandemic period. Layoffs, furloughs, or company restructurings are some of those “blindsided” moments that can happen to everyone, no matter how good you are at your job or how long you’ve been an employee. The only person you can really count on is you. By updating your resume, you can avoid some of the stress and panic since you won’t have to search for past job information to create a new resume. Updating your resume regularly lets you add things as they happen so you don’t forget any important information, including all the necessary details that show how qualified a candidate you are. It also eliminates the time and effort of researching old documents to locate these details.
Keep up with Career Market Trends
In today’s job market, “Personal Details” and “Objectives” sections have gone entirely out of style as have “References Upon Request” and providing a street address. Add to that the fact that almost every prospective employer is using some form of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) necessitating the right keywords and proper formatting and you have a whole new 2021 set of resume requirements to deal with. Staying current with your resume and continuously adapting it are the best ways to keep your resume fresh.
Rediscover Your Current Role
Updating your resume is an ideal way to refresh your understanding of your current role. Start journaling some of your skills and achievements and you’ll probably be surprised by all of the accomplishments you’ve made.
Prepare for Performance Reviews
Think of your yearly performance reviews as a “job interview” for your company. You need to know and be able to articulate the key things you’ve done in the past year, along with your strengths and abilities, to highlight your value. If you’ve been updating your resume with key accomplishments, skill developments, and educational achievements, you can accurately present these to your manager with confidence and discuss how you can use them for your organization going forward. You can also market yourself as a talented professional your company will want to keep around.
A Clear Picture of Your Career Path
When you look back over your past jobs, you can see where you’ve been and where you are and start to plan what your next meaningful career step is. By analyzing your career decisions and identifying patterns, you’ll know what next steps to take.
Updating your resume doesn’t have to take much time or effort. Setting aside roughly 45 minutes a month will help ensure that your resume is both current and accurate.
About Garrison Leykam, PhD
- Certified Remote Work Professional
- Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC)
- Certified Professional, Résumé Writer (CPRW)
- Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP)
- Certified Life Coach (Expert Level)
- PhD Marketing, MA Psychology
- LinkedIn profile in Top 25 MA, PhD profiles in U.S.
- Top 1% LinkedIn Industry Social Selling Index
- Author, Audacious at Any Age and Design You