When’s the best time to update your resume?

You’re in the middle of a job you like – or at least you don’t hate it. You don’t have plans to jump ship anytime soon, and there’s no rumor around the company about layoffs coming down the road.

Now’s the perfect time to update your resume.

For those of you who might be shaking your heads in disbelief, there are a number of great reasons to have your resume in place before you ever need it.

  • Clarity. Have you ever written a resume after a number of years in a job, only to struggle to remember your achievements? Keeping your resume updated regularly guarantees that you’ll be able to put your most powerful achievements on display.

But just because profit margins on Project A exceeded those of Project B, don’t delete the info on Project B forever – keep a separate list of achievements to pull from, should you need to tailor your resume for a specific position. (Which you almost always will!)

  • Negotiation. It’s performance review time. Are you required to start with a self-assessment of your annual or semi-annual contributions to your department or company? Good thing you’ve been keeping up your resume. You’ve got a clean and highly complimentary record of your performance at hand.

And if your review comes in an interview format, you’ve got your talking points all mapped out, in a smoothly summarized fashion. That’s the evidence you need to secure the highest possible raise – or to be ready to start looking elsewhere if the review doesn’t go the way you expect it to.

  • Timelines. If you work on multiple longer-term projects (ones that don’t show meaningful results for six months or more) incremental updates to your resume can help you track your performance on those longer projects.

A 50% increase in revenue over six months is definitely good – capture that on your resume update. You won’t know whether it’ll be up to a 500% increase in a year, or a 500% decrease – but at least you’ve captured the positive data when it was available.

As for how often to update your resume, every three to six months is a good yardstick, but why wait? If you’ve hit one out of the park at work, celebrate with a concise bullet point write-up in your resume. If not now, then soon, or you’ll be struggling to remember the details later.

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