By Esther Lamarre, Assistant Director, Graduate Student & Alumni Career Programs
 
A number of articles continue to surface around the topic of resumes.  Each one usually provides the latest trends regarding what to include on the resume or what format is getting some buzz in the job market.  It made me think about my own resume and the out dated practices that still existed on my own document.
 
When I finally opened the file I use to obsess over during my job search, I found missing experiences, unlisted accomplishments, and a few other blanks I couldn’t remember how to fill.  But why would I need to look at my resume again if I already have a job?
1. You gained new experiences and/or skills OR Your position has changed
A change in your professional experiences or in your position is likely something you will one day want to highlight on your resume. This can be anything from a title change to a change in responsibilities.  For instance, if you were managing a project when you were first hired but now your position has evolved to include managing multiple projects andsupervising staff, your future employer should know!
Year after year, you add new experiences and skills to our professional tool bag. When you fail to update resumes with these new experiences, you forget the amazing accomplishments you achieved.  Changes in your position or skill set might occur every year but when you get around to updating your resume in two or three years, you’ve likely forgotten significant outcomes from year one. 
A great time to review and update your resume is during annual or quarterly performance appraisals.  Achievements and success highlighted during your appraisal should also be reflected on your resume. If your company or organization does not conduct performance appraisals, set a calendar reminder to review successes annually on the anniversary of your hire date. This will help to repel stagnancy in your position while also encouraging the possibility of creating new goals!
2. You have not gained new professional experiences OR Your job has not changed
A lack of change in either your experiences or your position can be a strong indication of the need to revisit your old resume.  Unfortunately, you might not even notice your workdays turning into routine tasks being completed with little to no effort. In these instances, you are no longer mastering new skills or gaining new insights.
Consistently updating your resume could help you identify monotonous routine before it fully impacts your workplace effectiveness and professional development.  If you are doing the same things over and over for multiple years in the same position without any new accomplishments, you may want to consider making changes to your resume and your workplace.     
Great work places challenge staff to grow by tackling new problems and accomplishing new goals.  Lack of change in job responsibilities could result in complacency and boredom.  A complacent team member isn’t strengthening the company or helping to fulfill the organization’s mission or vision.  A great time to assess whether or not a position is pushing you as a professional is when you sit down to articulate successes on a resume.  If you cannot pinpoint clear areas of growth, meet with your supervisor to identify areas in your workplace that would allow you to hone new skills. You’ll never recognize growth areas as a professional if you don’t revisit that old resume.
3. New opportunities await!
Here’s a little secret: opportunity will find you whether or not you are looking for it.  Whether you are actively searching or content with your current position, the perfect opportunity just might fall in your lap without warning.  This could come in the form of a recruiter who lands on your LinkedIn profile or a friend who casually passes on your information to a colleague.  The only notification you might receive is a time sensitive request to share your resume with Person X as soon as possible.  Will you be ready?
These scenarios are not as far fetched as you might think.  As the economy continues to bounce back, many companies are able to re-establish positions that may have been eliminated by budgets or add new positions within specific focus areas to strengthen company goals.  Additionally, recruiters have access to vast technologies allowing talent discovery in various industries across the world.  If you are known for great work, someone will take notice.  When this happens, you have to be prepared to sell yourself.  Your resume is that marketing tool.  It is your greatest asset for showcasing your strengths as a professional.  Don’t let this document collect dust on your hard drive.  You can avoid the stress of rushing to get ready by staying ready.
Maintaining an updated resume can help to keep your accomplishments in the forefront while also making it possible to identify new professional goals and stay prepared for new opportunities.  An outdated resume can cause you to miss out on your next adventure.

 

So open up that file and update that resume.  Happy editing!