Why you need to keep your resume updated

Being so young and new to the real world, we are prone to receive many peices of advice, many of which we choose not to take. It’s understandable, we think we know so much better. We are stubborn experts. Maybe we decided to be a little lazy?

Not that it is a proven statistic, but I like to think that I take about 85% of the advice I receive. Okay, maybe I’m speaking too highly of myself. Maybe its 75%? You get what I am saying. We cannot always take every piece of advice word for word. In my case, I put a lot of thought into any major personal decisions I face. I deliberate, I weigh the pro and cons, and I overanalyze what is ahead of me. Advice can still be taken into account even when you don’t follow it 100%.

Today, I want to share a piece of advice I received very early in my career, which I didn’t quite understand immediately. You may feel the urge to ignore it, but I will assure you, that one day you will wish you hadn’t.

At my first job, a (super fun and hip) 30 year old told me to always keep your resume updated. I always thought she was happy with her job, so my response was “Really? Why?” “You never know when you will need it.” The 22 year old in me thought, is this a trick? Is she telling me to run for the hills from this job? Not quite.

Whether you work for a company that requires you to apply to internal positions or a company that selects you for new roles and teams, you should always keep your resume updated for these three reasons:

  1. Unless you have a magical ability to write about your professional experience, resume writing isn’t easy. Fresh out of college, we are taught so many rules about resume writing. You must use action verbs, format with structure, use consistent tenses, stick to one page, etc. etc. Whether you obey the rules or know when to break them, odds are dusting off your resume requires brushing up on the techniques too.
  2. You never know when you will need it. We 20 somethings go after what we want, and we don’t allow ourselves missed opportunities. Based on whatever resume rules you are trying to follow, it’s safe to say it takes a lot of time to thoughtfully edit and proofread your resume. When the moment comes that you need it, you better be ready.
  3. Hmm, what was that huge project you working on a year and a half ago? Exactly. You will be surprised by how much about your work experience you forget. You might remember that big effort you played a role in, but do you remember the specifics? You improved the process by 15% by doing X, Y and Z or you presented theme A, B, and C to 50 – 100+ people, including senior managers. Details are important to all of your hard work, and bragging rights have been granted. Why would you want to sell yourself short just because it was over a year ago?

For those of you fueled by professional success, please do yourself a favor and keep this in mind, even if you do love your day job.

This is just the start of my posts for the Professional League. I have many more fun tidbits of information when it comes to job hunting. Stay tuned!!


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