We’re all aware that it’s extremely important to create items we may need for future success. This includes creating resumes, mock interview situations, stationary for thank-yous, and so on. Regrettably, many of us don’t realize that the updating of these items is just as important as the creation.
This morning after a prolonged session at the gym, I perched at my desk and started clicking away on my MacBook. Although the rest of my life is completely organized, my desktop, for reasons unbeknownst to me, is not. I know I should save pictures and articles into labeled folders, but somehow I find that saving them to my desktop makes it easier to find them… an organized mess, if you will.
After a few minutes of clicking, I stumbled upon my resume. Even though my resume is only a year old, some of the contents seem truly irrelevant now. By no means am I thinking of searching for another job, but I realized that if I don’t keep it up to date, there may be pieces that flutter from my mind every now and again. And so, with that, I have decided it’s time for an update. I mean, my address on my resume still reflects my home in Arizona. And I’ve moved TWICE since then. Silly me.
Best advice: The more current it is, the better off you’ll be.
Your resume needs to instantly communicate your career target with a descriptive headline. It also needs to adequately reflect your depth of experience in a brief, hard-hitting opening summary. This summary should highlight your top selling points.
For your objective, add one that spells out your goals and shows the relevance of past experience. For example: “Award-winning educator seeking to leverage five years of teaching experience to transition into corporate training.”
Add new employment, skills, and accomplishments. Changing jobs, earning a promotion, and receiving expanded responsibilities should be reflected in an updated resume. Also include professional activities, such as earning certificates, degrees, and courses. Don’t forget to add any work in progress, including your graduate school degree.
Delete less relevant experience. For example, those of us who have recently graduated probably shouldn’t have any information on our resume from high school. Replace your high school achievement with your most recent work experience or professional activity. Most corporations probably won’t care that you were among the top 10% of your class for the highest AP history exam score…
Another great idea is to start a kudos file. Resolve to start a file for projects and successes you achieve during the year. Copy performance reviews and keep them in this file. Print out complimentary or congratulatory emails and file these away. List new committees you join. Jot down assignments you complete during the year. Include details of quantifiable results (e.g., percentages, dollar amounts, before/after comparisons) of your efforts while still fresh in your mind. Your kudos file will remind you where you excelled so you’ll be ready to punch up your resume.
Finally, be sure to update regularly. You should update your resume throughout the year, not just at the beginning or end. Think of it as a progressive project. You never know when opportunity may come knocking at your door.