How to keep your resume current and why you need it to succeed

Have you ever felt stressed out because your resume wasn’t up-to-date? It turns out you’re part of the majority of job seekers in this feeling.

2015 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior Study revealed that 61 percent of people keep their resume current at all times. I was both shocked and disappointed to learn that leaves only 39 percent of us who are up to speed on the resume process, ensuring we are staying up-to-date and stress-free.

Keeping your resume accurate allows you to regularly reflect on your career path while also preparing you for an unexpected job loss or opportunity. It also gives you the framework needed to keep your LinkedIn profile fresh.

The consequences of having an outdated resume

As a human resources professional, a pet peeve of mine is interviewing a candidate and finding out their resume is outdated. This says they don’t value detail and accuracy, which are important characteristics in almost every field. Depending on how outdated a resume is, I may no longer consider a candidate for the position and know many other recruiters who have done the same.

I’ve witnessed friends, family members and candidates completely stress at the request for an updated resume, and in fact, I know several people who have forgone applying for a position they wanted because the pressure of revising their resume was far too great.

We all know the consequences of neglecting to keep our resumes accurate, so why aren’t we good about actually doing it? Is the act itself too overwhelming? Is it because we don’t carve out the time?

From my experience, it’s a combination of both. I have seen many people become too complacent when they have a steady job. They don’t regularly update their resume because they aren’t thinking about “what’s next.” This results in some people going years without updating their resume.

How to make the process of updating your resume more manageable

To help make the process of updating your resume a regular part of your routine, you should schedule time to review your resume every six months. I recommend making one of those times right after your yearly review—when your strengths, accomplishments and project list are documented and at the forefront of your mind.

Throughout the year, it’s wise to keep a file with relevant pieces of information that can be used in your next resume revision. I started doing this a few years ago and this process has worked out great. Your file should include accomplishments, testimonials, workshops and classes you have attended along with any awards, and promotions you have received.

If when trying to put everything together you find yourself overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember all of the valuable resources you have around you. Viewing other profiles on LinkedIn is a great way to generate resume-updating ideas. There are also limitless how-to books and online resume building tools, and don’t forget to leverage your current network for help, support and advice.

Danielle Clark is a human resources manager with more than 10 years of HR and customer service experience in healthcare and retail organizations. Her work with Fortune 500 companies, in addition to a diverse professional and academic background, has trained Clark to be results-driven, people-focused and a thought-provoking leader. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. She is also an adjunct professor, active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.

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