Updating Your Resume

updating your resume doesn't have to be painful
If you’re like most people, the thought of updating your resume sounds about as fun as a dental appointment.  It’s one of those chores that is easy to put off.  You may even wonder, why you should worry about it if you aren’t looking for a job.  Just like going to the dentist, updating your resume is much less painful if you are doing it frequently. Each time you make updates, find a quiet space and give yourself an hour or two of uninterrupted time to focus without distractions.  Regular updates will make it easier to remember your accomplishments and make the process much less painful.  As your career changes, your resume should reflect that.  We’ve highlighted some key times when you should be updating your resume below.

Job Changes

This one is easy.  Anytime you change jobs, take a moment to make those updates on your resume.  Highlight your new responsibilities and reflect on the accomplishments you achieved in your last position.  Remember to update the dates on your resume too.  If you’re staying at the same company in a new position, it probably makes the most sense to list the total length of time with the business name, and then list the dates for each position below. Keeping copies of your old job descriptions with your resume can help you recall past responsibilities as you make updates.

New Education/Training/CertificatesRecent Grad? Update your resume!

Did you get a new degree or certification?  Make sure to include it on your resume and take credit for it!  When working with resume clients, I often see education and training in progress with expected completion dates that have long past. Once you complete the training, I don’t recommend using dates of education on resumes unless there is a particular reason it makes sense.  If your license or certification has an expiration, you’ll want to include that instead.

For most professionals, the education section of a resume should go near the bottom.  I recommend that after around three years of professional work experience, that the degree should be moved down, and the experience should be a bigger focus.

Performance Reviews

When you work at a company that does performance reviews, they can help you capture your significant accomplishments.  Making updates after your performance review is an excellent way to incorporate regular resume updates into your rhythm as well.   Your review can help you capture big projects with measurable results as accomplishments bullets.  Save these files in the same place as your previous job descriptions to make future resume updates easier.

Before Applying

Anytime you’re considering applying for a new position; you should review your resume and make updates.  Even if you just recently made changes, your resume should be customized for each job.  Since most companies use applicant tracking system, the words you choose in your resume should reflect the phrase used in the job posting.  Without a high keyword match, there is a chance that the hiring manager might never see your resume.

Use caution when you make these updates though because if you just stuff a bunch of keywords into your resume, the systems are pretty good at picking that up too.  The goal is to reflect the language in the posting, without it coming across as forced or over the top.  For example, your resume uses the phrase “managed multiple projects at once, but the job description talks about multitasking, make a quick edit to reflect that word better.

Twice a Year

If you make it a habit of updating your resume twice a year on a regular schedule, you’ll make the entire process much easier.  You never know when your dream job might appear, and you don’t want an old resume to cause you to scramble.  If you revisit the file every six months, making the updates and customizing it to a particular job will be much less intimidating.  The important thing here is to write it down and do it. Make a commitment to yourself and set a calendar reminder to get started.  If it’s been awhile since you’ve made updates and you’d like some help we can help with resume coaching options to fit your needs.




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