Be Prepared! Why You Need An Updated Resume

 In Resumes and Cover Letters

This past week, I received a frantic call from a potential client:  “A good friend just let me know about a posting with her company for my dream job … can I get a resume by Friday?”  She hadn’t updated her resume in more than 15 years, had zero notes put together, and was too busy to spend a couple hours on the phone with me to develop the information. Since I’m not a fiction writer, I wasn’t able to help her. Lesson that I’d like to convey:  Be prepared!

Ideally, I recommend that my clients update their resume annually at a minimum. Look at your current role and evaluate job duties. Are they still the same or have new tasks or projects been added?  More importantly, what results have you delivered in the past year?  Evaluate those achievements with the ones listed on your resume and choose the best to include. DO NOT simply add bulleted statements to the list – rule of thumb is 2-3 accomplishment statements, no more than 5 – so decide which older statements can be replaced with more recent information. Evaluate the statements – which best portray your value proposition, will grab a potential employer’s attention, demonstrate your capabilities, and, most importantly, what do you want to discuss at an interview.

When you add information to your resume, be sure it is written in the same “voice” as the rest of the resume. Very often when I review resumes, it is apparent that the most recent position was added by the client to a resume that had been previously professionally written. If you can’t match the language, go back to your writer for the update. Also, proofread what you add, and then have two more people proofread!

Another comment I’ve heard a lot lately:  “I can’t remember what I did 3 years ago!”  My suggestion:  Create a Word doc and each month (ideally) or quarterly (at a minimum) jot down projects you worked on, statistics of results you delivered, goals you were working against and the percentages you achieved, etc. Capturing these nuggets when they are fresh in your mind will make updating your resume down the road a snap.


Finally, don’t forget about your LinkedIn profile. Don’t wait for a resume update – add recent achievements to your LI profile frequently. Recruiters spend a lot of time sourcing candidates on LinkedIn; keeping your profile fresh, with new keywords and statistics will get their attention. An added benefit – each time you make a change to your LI profile, your name will pop up on the weekly feed from LI to your network, thus keeping your name “top of mind” should any of your connections hear of an opportunity.

If I can be of assistance with either updating your resume or creating something from scratch, please reach out to me. Ideally a 10-21 day timeframe from start to finish is realistic; 2-3 days, not feasible (for quality work at least!).

Kathy Keshemberg is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1983, she has created thousands of interview-winning resumes and related job-search materials for satisfied clients around the world. Need assistance with your career? We’re here to help!

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