I’m guilty of it. I typically only look back at my resume if I’m actively looking for a job. In between job searches, years and years have gone by without giving it a second thought. Then, when the time comes to get serious in applying for jobs, I know it’s going to require a time-consuming overhaul and I regret not having taken the time to keep my resume up to date along the way.
You never know when a job opportunity is going to arise. Even if you are not actively looking for a job, you could be contacted out of the blue with an opportunity you’re interested in. If it has been a while since you last updated your resume, it could take hours- hours that you might not have to spare- to get it to where it needs to be to submit to a potential employer.
Promotions or a change in job title or responsibilities are good reasons to pull out your resume and make a few quick updates at any time. If you make these changes as they happen, then there’s less work to be done to your resume when it’s time to submit it to a potential employer. Special achievements or reaching a record number are accomplishments that could be overlooked if you’re in a time crunch and trying to update a years-old resume in a matter of minutes. Quickly adding a bullet point to your resume with this information- as it happens- ensures that you won’t forget to include it when it’s time to submit a resume that truly reflects your achievements.
Reviewing your resume every few months is also a good way to take inventory of where you are in your career. It can serve as a reminder of where you’ve been and how far you’ve come, as well as an opportunity to remind yourself where you hope to be in the future. And, if there is a new position you are considering applying for, starting with an updated resume can save you hours of work. Your resume will still need to be tailored for the specific job you’re applying to, but at least you’re starting with everything you need right in front of you.
Keeping your resume fresh is important whether you’re actively looking for a job or not. It’s a good idea to take a look at it at least a couple times a year to see if there’s anything new you can add. Perhaps you’ve gained a new skill, earned a new certification, or gotten a new title. Knowing your resume is up to date at any given time is both a relief and a sign that you take your career seriously and are ready to take action on a moment’s notice.