It’s always a good idea to keep your resume up-to-date, even if you aren’t planning on actively searching for a new job anytime soon. For one, when that time comes, it will make your life so much easier to not need to trawl through years of work to do a refresh. Additionally, you never know when a current resume may come in handy – maybe you meet someone in your network with a great opportunity for a step up in your career, or if you pursue other professional development opportunities, like speaking at a conference, you may need to supply one. And frankly, you never know what can happen with your employment, and the awfulness of losing your job would only be compounded by needing to urgently revamp your resume.
You don’t need to fully rewrite the entire thing each time you make an update, nor do you need to stress yourself out making updates immediately after you complete a major resume-worthy project. Rather, the purpose of maintaining a relatively up-to-date resume is to make your life easier when the time comes when you actually need it.
Mark your calendar. Set a recurring reminder or event on your calendar to do a resume refresh. Set whatever cadence you feel is right for you; I would recommend starting out bi-monthly. This doesn’t need to be extensive by any means – literally just a once-over and small updates to add or remove content based on what transpired during the last few months, such as a successful launch, a promotion, or high sales volume. If you don’t need to change anything, that’s totally fine. I will caution, however, that if several months go by without any revisions, it may be time to reflect more thoroughly on your work situation and why you don’t have anything noteworthy to add.
Maintain a running list of accomplishments. This is going to make your life so much easier anytime you refresh your resume. I liked to do this in a OneNote notebook. Every so often, I would go in and add things to this list, such as major projects I worked on, new skills I learned, leadership opportunities, and the like. I personally like to use OneNote frequently for work, so it’s convenient and easy for me to pop over to this notebook. Be sure to include the month and year as well, especially if you changed roles or got a promotion.
Keep your resume handy. I used to keep my resume tucked away like 4 sub-folders down in a file hierarchy. Now I keep it in my Dropbox; I use a folder to store different versions and file formats but always have one copy just out in the ‘open’, not in a folder. This makes it easier to access and top of mind each time I go into Dropbox, thus I’m much more likely to go in and make a quick edit than if I had to work to dig it out of a Matryoshka doll of folders.
Making small adjustments, edits, and refreshes over time is way better than scrambling at the eleventh hour in my book, not to mention you’ll end up with a much higher-quality product. Using these tips will help keep you on track and make your professional resume-writing life so much easier!