How NOT Updating Your Resume Regularly Can Really Hurt You
By Shannon Terry, Resume Confidence
When is the last time you updated your resume? If it’s been more than a year, I’d say, it’s time.
One of the biggest, and frankly most exasperating problems for my clients, that I see ALL the time, is this: they’ve done so much in their work since they last updated their resumes, that they hit one or all of these 3 major stumbling blocks when they need to update their resume.
Common Resume Updating Stumbling Blocks:
- Time Constraints: It’s super time consuming to try to dig up the needed details to properly update their resume: they have to retrace their steps, re-contact colleagues, go searching through paper or computer files, etc. It's especially hard to find or remember the really important numbers that quantify results of their work in concrete, impressive ways (aka "specific, quantified accomplishments / achievements)
- Important Data is No Longer Accessible: They can no longer track down some of the most relevant details for various reasons, so some of their best work is essentially lost, as there’s no longer a ‘provable record’ of their effectiveness and thus, the strength of their resume and marketability suffers.
- Helpful Details are Forgotten: They can’t remember enough of what they did & inevitably leave out key skills & projects that likely would have strengthened their resume and marketability.
RESULT: Because they can't find, access, or remember details and data that would help their resumes get noticed by employers (and differentiate them over other applicants with similar skills and experience), their resume & marketability suffer. It could be directly by fewer interview invites as a result, or, the time it takes to search things out if they can retrieve key information then significantly delays their job search/resume rewrite completion time, and they may miss out on opportunities in the meantime.
This is all so easy to avoid, and much less painful!
IMPORTANT NOTE: You do NOT need to be constantly reworking your actual resume. (Whew! Collective big exhale!)
RELATED COURSES on LEARN FORMULA:
Solution: Keep an ongoing list
All I’d strongly recommend you do is this: simply regularly update a list of key accomplishments, changes in duties, and important projects, so the vital content will be ready for you (or your resume writer, who will put it all together for you!) when you need it.
Achievement / Skills / Special Project List Keeping Tips:
- You can jot notes, brainstormed, bullet point highlights, and/or keep a file of pertinent links & documents to track your career progress. Whatever style works for you.
- Make it a monthly or quarterly task in your planner to update your career progress tracking list.
- Just make sure all the needed details are kept somewhere safe, too. (Note: also best to back up any electronic records to personal files, not just kept things at work….just in case!)
Use these Key Categories as a Guide:
- Can include: CEU’s, degrees/certifications/certificates earned, mandatory company trainings/workshops, online or in-person courses or classes you take yourself
- Possible topics: Computer skills, leadership/management training, new organization skills/project management systems, DEI (diversity, equality, inclusion training for the workplace), industry specific courses (EX’s: new financial software you learned; new tax year update courses, as just a few possible examples that would be relevant)
Keep a list of the major projects you contributed to with pertinent details such as:
- Who were the key players in the project?
- What was your role? What did you contribute?
- How does this illustrate your skills & personal traits that made you successful at this project?
- What were the key positive outcomes/results for the company? Client/customer? Did you save money? Save time? Make a process more efficient (that then saves time and/or money (staff hours/other resources) (Hint: successful audits & details from them are a big one for many financial professionals!)
- Quantify any of these results NOW, while it’s fresh in your mind, or, if the outcomes won’t be known for a period of time, set a reminder in your calendar to follow up. (% of increased clients, $ amounts generated or saved, that sort of thing)
- Any other award or recognition earned or won by you, a team you were on, your department/company earned (Note the name of the recogition/award, who granted it, why, when, pertinent details)
- Thank you notes, kudos on projects, promotions, praise written in emails, formal annual employee evaluations, feedback on trainings or programs you gave from the participants, etc. – keep track! Most of my clients don't realize these are great for resumes sometimes, and/or, can be included in cover letters and/or LI, too, to really grab attention, to bring as examples in work portfolios, etc. These can come from clients/customers, co-workers, bosses, other department heads, etc. It’s all good!
- Places you are published, written/oral interviews, board member requests, speaking for professional organizations, press coverage, any time you, your work, your company (in a way that involves you & your work) is noticed or called upon as the ‘expert’, keep track.
- and of course (you knew this one though, right?) Employee/Team Player/ Star (or whatever) of the Department/Month/Year/District etc.
I PROMISE you that keeping this simple, ongoing list will make your life MUCH MUCH easier when it IS time to actually incorporate your experience updates into your actual resume - ESPECIALLY if a sudden, unexpected opportunity should arise and you need to submit an updated resume ASAP!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shannon Terry has been a Resume Writer and Owner of Resume Confidence: Resume Writing & Interview Coaching for more than 15 years, with an early career background in corporate training and education.
She's seen this business from all angles: as an independent writer, in corporate career services, college career centers, government sponsored workforce development programs and as a contract/behind the scenes resume writer for large online resume writing services.
Her approach has, and always will be, to educate, encourage, and thus empower job seekers to “reclaim their job search mojo.”