When it’s time for a new job search, the first thing that comes to mind is I need to update my resume. And then there is the next thought… How long has it been since the last time you’ve updated your resume? The longer it has been, the scarier and the more dreadful the process feels, doesn’t it? But what if things could be easier. What if you were updating your resume all along.
We rarely think about updating our resume unless we have to. The process feels like pulling out weeds or doing dishes. Unless you are one of those rare individuals who enjoy the process, you are likely to postpone it until the very end. Until you have no other choice. But what if I told you that updating your resume as you go along does not only make your life much easier, it’s also a very good idea.
You never know when a recruiter might show up with an amazing job opportunity.
Imagine one day you open up your LinkedIn or an email and see a lovely message from a recruiter you have never heard of, telling you about the job of your dreams. This happens a lot more often than you realize. And it can happen to you any day. When it happens, the last thing you want is a hassle and pressure to update your resume.
You don’t want to keep the recruiter waiting because you never know how many other candidates they are considering. On the other hand, you don’t want to give them a crappy and outdated resume. After all, this is the job of your dreams and you want to make a good first impression.
When to update your resume?
As a general practice I would recommend keeping a word document file of your resume handy on your home computer. Every time you get a promotion or move to another department, add a new position title to your resume. You can also create a small paragraph of responsibilities and expectations for this role, even if you haven’t started in this role yet.
Next, every time you make a notable accomplishment, make sure you add it to your resume. When your achievement is still fresh in your mind, it’s easier to talk about it. You can still remember all the details about it. And you can find out all the measurable results about it if you need to.
It is much harder to remember all the accomplishments you’ve made in this role after months or even years have passed. Besides, they are no longer fresh in your head. You may not even remember some of them because after some time they may lose their significance to you. They will not be less important in general, but they will feel less important to you.
A few more tips about updating your resume.
It is very easy for us to undermine our accomplishments and forget about them. Especially when we are still in the middle of trying to make something happen. I would recommend creating a log of what you are currently working on. Pick at least one day a month when you can re-visit your log and make updates to your project. Don’t forget to add details about your contributions and outcomes.
If your resume log gets too long or too wordy, that’s fine. You can always shorten and fine tune it later. It’s much easier to shorten a document than to try to remember what to add.
If writing your own resume still feels like a daunting task, you can always hire a professional resume writer to do it for you.
Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach, a resume writer and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.