How Often Should I Update My Resume?

By Tim Backes

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How Often Should I Update My Resume?

A very common question that career advisors and job recruiters get asked is about when and how often a person should update their resume. While there is a very clear answer to this question, it’s not a static number of months or years that most people expect to hear.


Don’t Think Time, Think Skills

When considering when and how often you should amend your resume, you need to consider what you have done to make yourself more appealing to potential employers. While having a certain amount of time on the job can hint at a certain level of experience gained, there are much better ways to show how you have increased your value.


Have you learned or improved a new skill? 

A great example of an employee that has learned a new marketable skill would be a graphic designer who mainly used Adobe Photoshop but has since added AutoCAD to his or her knowledgebase. Or, perhaps a previously unarmed security guard went through the licensing process that his or her state requires in order to carry a firearm.

It’s very easy to see why both of the new skills that the above employees have added to their skill-sets would be appealing, and why they would want to update their resumes by adding those skills.


Have you won any new awards or received any new recognition?

Another excellent time to add some new information to your existing resume is right after you have received an award or acknowledgment of a job well done. You can also add any special milestones you have recently achieved.

Some realistic examples of this would be a real estate agent who has recently been awarded the commercial salesperson of the year award in their state or region, or a software developer reaching a high amount of downloads from a mobile application that they created.

Hiring managers and human resources representatives love hard numbers and facts. Use them to sell yourself when you have the opportunity.


Have you recently earned a promotion?

This is as clear as day. If you have been recently promoted, from say an assistant manager position to a manager, or from a busser to a waiter, you don’t just want to mention it by revising your resume, you want to highlight it.

Earning a promotion is a big deal, and even if you’re still a dozen steps removed from the president or CEO, you’re also not in an entry-level position anymore. Showing a hiring manager that you earned a promotion is one of the best ways to sell yourself.


The Final Word

Don’t treat your resume like your taxes and only think about it once a year. Your resume is a living document that should be updated whenever something significant occurs in your job or career.

This serves two main purposes. First, you will always have a resume ready to go incase a great opportunity unexpectedly presents itself. Second, you will have a clear record of the progress you’re making in your professional life.

So, when you should update your resume? The simple answer is, as often as it needs updated.

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