Is It Time To Update Your Resume?
By Deborah Walker
“Be prepared,” isn’t just great advice for Boy Scouts; it’s
also great career advice. You
never know when the perfect career opportunity will present itself.
If a recruiter called you today with your dream job, would you
be prepared to send out an up-to-date resume right away?
There are four critical times to update your resume:
1. Update your resume every year: This is where many people fall
short. When that recruiter
calls with the perfect job, you may suddenly find your resume is years
out of date, and you’ll have to scramble to catch up.
resume current by including your best accomplishments each year.
Don’t count on your memory to recall everything you achieved
in years past! You are
likely to overlook critical achievements and contributions.
If you need assistance, a resume coach may be able to help you
through the process with some targeted questions on your most recent
2. Update your resume when your career focus changes: If you want to
change your career path, then you also need to change your resume.
There are several ways to shift the focus away from your
current job and toward your new career.
focusing on the skills that will be useful in your new career, you can
position yourself as a stronger candidate for the job.
Highlight those transferable skills in your new resume,
bringing them front and center.
addition to highlighting your transferable skills, shift your list of
accomplishments to support those skills.
Accomplishment statements give credibility to transferable
skills and prove your ability to cross industry or occupational lines.
Well-crafted accomplishments make a big difference in whether
you win the interview or are passed over.
be sure you understand your audience.
As you shift career focus, it is critical to understand the
hiring motives of your target market.
Use your resume as an effective selling tool by correctly
anticipating the recruiter’s “wish list” for great job
3. Update your resume when
you anticipate layoffs within your company: A harsh reality of
today’s economy is the need for corporate downsizing.
Layoffs and losses are becoming more and more common.
But you can prepare for any worst-case scenario by keeping your
make the mistake of being overly optimistic.
It’s safer to assume that you are on the “out” list.
Most people who get caught unexpectedly in a layoff thought
they were indispensable to their employers.
You might be important or well-liked, but remember that the
bottom line always has a louder voice than you do.
Get your resume ready as soon as you see any indications that
downsizing is on the way.
mistake company loyalty for a fear of change.
Often employees would rather take their chances with a
potential layoff than make proactive steps toward finding a new job.
Once they’re laid off, it’s already too late.
Remember, as a candidate, you are always more marketable while
still employed. Avoid this
trap and start your job search early with self-marketing tools (resume
and cover letter) that are up-to-date and top quality.
4. Update your resume when
you are dissatisfied with your current position: Job
dissatisfaction leads to feelings of frustration, worthlessness, and
often hopelessness. But
there is no reason to stay in a job you hate.
Being prepared with an updated resume can help you feel better
in your current job. When
you have a really terrible day at work, you can respond to job
opportunities that same evening with confidence in your
up-to-the-minute resume. Taking proactive steps toward a new career
will give you back your optimism and self worth.
time for you to update your resume, first decide whether your resume
requires a simple update or a complete rewrite.
If you have been using the same resume format throughout your
career, it’s possible that you have outgrown the old look.
What your resume promoted ten years ago may not be appropriate
or significant for your career choices today.
And if you’ve simply been “tacking on” to your old
resume, it may start to resemble a house with too many additions, with
little sense or direction.
well-written resume can make an incredible difference in:
The length of time it takes to make your career
The quality of your next position
The income potential of your next position
resume is your best sales tool in finding a new job, and it deserves
the investment of your time and commitment.
With a little extra effort now, you’ll be prepared for
anything that comes your way—and be well on the path to your next
Deborah Walker, CCMC, is a career
coach and resume writer.
the author for permission to republish or reuse this article.]