Too often, people update their resume right as they’re on the cusp of applying for new work or unexpectedly out of work. This is disastrous.
Working can be mundane and thankless. The events of each day can run together, and often it’s easy to forget the achievements you’ve toiled towards. By having an updated resume, your chances of landing that next great position or lessening the time spent unemployed increase drastically.
We’re all swamped for time, so spending some more time working on something abstract like your resume, especially when you don’t need to, is a bridge too far but it doesn’t have to be.
There are a few tricks that will help you keep that resume updated while you work, so when that ideal position comes along, all you need to do is attach and send the resume, not create a new one!
- Set aside time every week to update your resume: This doesn’t need to be an especially egregious amount of time, say only 15 minutes. By spending this time on your resume, you’re more likely to tailor it to positively reflect your experiences and sensibilities. The other benefit is the mundane projects you’ve worked on are less so because they’re fresh in your mind. If you’re in a pinch and have to update your resume, you may not remember that you designed the cover sheet for the TPS report, but if you update your resume every week, then you are more likely to include that cover sheet–something a prospective employer might be interested in.
- Keep a journal of achievements: Just as you update your resume every week, you’re going to keep a journal. Why? Because people forget. Our lives are too busy and simple things often go unremembered. Keep a small notepad or use your smartphone to note what you’ve done that day at work. Most days, it won’t be that interesting, but it will help you see the process that lead to the 10 percent increase in sales, and by doing that, you’re prepared for the next job interview and your weekly resume prep.
- Change the verbiage: On the previous jobs and accomplishments the language eventually gets stale. Sometimes slightly stale bread is fun to cook with, but stale words on a resume never work out well. Prospective employers will want to know what you did five years ago, and if you’re not updating that language, it will be harder to recall on the day of the interview. Even if you change out words for synonyms, it’s important to do this because all that professional experience stays fresh in your brain.
One statistic demonstrating the importance of constantly updating your resume is that the average worker now spends about three to four years at their current job. Your parents may have worked for a company their entire lives, and your aunts and uncles may have spent 10 years with a company. Today’s worker is transient by nature. By updating your resume consistently, you will have a leg up on the other job seekers when it’s your time to seek different work. Set aside that 15 minutes because it may lead to six figures!