Keeping your resume up-to-date is tricky. Unless you are actively searching for a new position, chances are it is not at the top of your list to keep it updated. But as we’ll all come to find out, the best opportunities always seem to pop up unexpectedly. So a job opening you like pops up. You scramble to get your resume updated to get it in before the application deadline. You don’t take the time to really organize it and you don’t even have time to have a friend proofread.
So how can we be prepared for these moments when we are so preoccupied and busy with our current jobs. The trick is to spend a few minutes every two weeks to a month making sure your resume is up-to-date. This doesn’t mean constantly redoing it but just adding a bullet point or a line here or there to make it more current. Here are three updates you can make each month to make sure you’re always prepared for a new opportunity when it arises.
Add New Roles
It is common practice for people to update their resume only when it’s time to find a new position and let it lie untouched until the next job search. Now you can’t really start making updates when you first begin a new job because you never know how the reality of the role will follow the job description. Give it a month after starting a new job to begin updating. After a month you can add the company name, job title and start date. After month 2 add some of your main responsibilities on a day-to-day basis.
Should a juicy opportunity arise, you’ll at least have the framework for what you want to put down for that job. Depending on the opportunity, you can curtail your bullet points to better connect with the job description of the potential new job.
Update Your Responsibilities and Impact
Now that your past and most current position is listed, make sure they are up-to-date. Consider your primary responsibilities and any major projects you have completed that had a large impact. Did you improve on something within the company and make it better? You could have done this in a multitude of ways. Maybe you saved them time and money. Perhaps you created something that didn’t exist and was very much needed.
To really show the impact you made, use numbers if possible. For example, you increased the number of leads coming in by 10% from the previous year.
It will be more difficult to go back and try to think of and remember these numbers compared to adding it to your resume in real time.
Double Check the Details
Each time you add to your resume it presents an opportunity to go back and double the rest of your existing resume. Make sure the details of each of your roles is in the right tense. For example, past roles in the past tense and your current role in the present tense.
Also check for consistencies. Make sure your bullet points are the same size and all months are abbreviated or spelled out together– just make sure they’re uniform. Headings should be uniform as well whether they’re all bold, in all caps, or underlined.
By staying on top of these things a few times each month, you will be as prepared as possible when that cool new opportunity arises.