It’s easy to ignore your resume when you’re happily employed
But your resume isn’t a static document. It highlights your accomplishments over your whole career. And you need to keep it up to date.
In fact, I recommend updating your resume every quarter (yep, 4x per year).
Don’t worry, it only takes 15-2 minutes, and you’ll thank me next time you need a resume in a hurry.
So if your resume has been sitting abandoned somewhere on your computer gathering virtual dust, it’s time to take a fresh look. Here’s why you need to update your resume every quarter -- regardless of your employment status.
Unexpected Career Opportunities
It’s not every day that an opening for your dream job comes along. You can either prepare for that opportunity or let it pass you by.
You don’t need to hate your job or feel dissatisfied with your career to wind up in a position where you face making a change. Job openings come and go and better opportunities might lie just around the corner. When a connection comes and asks if you’re interested in a great position, you need a polished, accurate, and up-to-date resume to provide.
Keeping your resume updated allows you to be ready for great opportunities that may develop out of the blue. Like when your buddy from the Big 4 days calls to tell you about an Accounting Manager position that just opened up at his company.
It also allows you to create a list of resume-worthy accomplishment bullets as they happen. Record your achievements as they happen, and you’re less likely to forget something important. Don't wait until you feel pressured to remember all that proves you’re the ideal candidate for a dream position.
Update your information quarterly so it's easy to keep track of important details of projects you’ve been working on. (These are details that, with time, slip away.)
Be Prepared for Layoffs
As an employee, you’re always subject to the ramifications of someone else’s decisions. The Great Recession proved that companies cut entire departments to salvage their bottom line. Hundreds of thousands of workers got laid off not because they were bad employees or failing to fulfill their job responsibilities. The company decided they could no longer afford to employ those individuals.
You can get laid off at any time, for any reason beyond your control. Fair or otherwise, that’s part of the reality of working in someone else’s business. And it’s another reason why you need to update your resume every few months. Again, you never know what changes may lie ahead on your career path.
Resumes are for More Than Just Your Job Search
You should maintain a resume regardless of employment status because you can use it for more than applying to a new position. You might need to share your resume to prove your expert status.
Or you could use it to secure a side gig outside your full-time job (as a speaker at an industry event, for example). You may also need to remind your managers what a valuable employee you are when a promotion is up for grabs at work.
An updated, accurate resume can do all this for you. And you won’t need to scramble, at the last minute and under pressure, to get it ready for these types of opportunities unrelated to job searching.
Updating Your Resume Is Simple
Many professionals don’t bother updating their resume. They think it’s too complicated or time-consuming. Why fool with it when you feel so sure you won’t need it?
But refreshing your resume every quarter doesn’t need to be difficult or intensive. Create either a digital or physical folder to store at home. Then file important notes, documents, or paperwork that show accomplishments and progress. Don't forget to add in any paperwork that demonstrates your value or participation in big projects.
This way, you can refer to these resources when you sit down to update your resume. You won't need to struggle for hours to figure out what to include or what you helped with in the past few months that's important to note.
It’s well worth the small amount of effort required to keep an up-to-date and accurate resume. You can kick yourself down the road for missing out on an opportunity because you couldn’t put together a polished, full resume in time. Or you can thank yourself for planning ahead and keeping an updated resume that allows you to jump at any opportunity, any time.