Do you want to know how often I hear some variation of the following? “Hi, I’m calling you because I’ve recently become unemployed and I realize that I haven’t updated my resume in over a decade?”
Let’s just say, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that phrase I could at least afford to buy a few of you a fancy dinner.
Your resume is a little like your car’s registration. You don’t usually do a lot of thinking about it until you’re asked to hand it over, and then it becomes really important really fast! However, if you do update your resume more than just when you need to, you’ll probably realize a couple of benefits right away – you’ll attract more opportunities, and you’ll gain more confidence.
Attracting More Opportunities
If you update your resume regularly, you’ll be more likely to attract opportunities – both at your current place of employment and externally. Why? Call it the “build it and they will come” principle. When you regularly spend time working on your resume, you’re likely to be thinking about your professional strengths, and when you’re thinking about your professional strengths, you’re likely to see places in which they can be used just about everywhere. Think about it. How many times have you closed your ears when you’ve heard a colleague discussing a promotion opportunity or decided to just keep scrolling when you saw an interesting connection on LinkedIn? You haven’t updated your resume in years, and you don’t have time to update it now, so why bother?
If you choose to spend regular time updating your resume, however, you’ll find that you’ll start to see and seize those opportunities. In fact, you’ll start to seek them out. You will also start thinking more intentionally about your skills, dreams, and career aspirations – which brings me to the second benefit.
Gaining More Confidence
Some of the most qualified, most professional, and most talented people I know are also some of the least confident. While there is something to be said for a healthy dose of humility, being able to openly discuss the value you add to an industry, company, or team is an important asset – both for you and for the industry, company, or team. If you can’t confidently communicate your strengths, you will be able to help far fewer people than if you can clearly and effectively discuss your career progression, expertise, and how you use it to support people and organizations.
At the beginning of this message, I told you that I could take at least a few of you out to a nice dinner if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone tell me they hadn’t updated their resume in over a decade. Fortunately, if I had a nickel for every time a client told me they felt more confident about themselves after working on their resume, I’d be able to take a whole lot more of you out to dinner.
When I was a writing professor, we used to talk a lot about process vs. product – the idea is that going through the writing process produces results that are valuable independently of the product – or the piece of writing you create. I can tell you that each of my clients who goes through the resume-writing process with me ends up finding something they didn’t set out to find, and usually, it’s clarity and confidence. Why? Because they’re being challenged to think about and articulate their achievements, skills, and expertise.
So, now we’ve come to the end of this article, and you’ve realized that I haven’t actually answered the title question – how often should I update my resume? The answer is – regularly. When you update your resume on a regular basis, you are able to attract progressive opportunities and build progressive confidence. Of course, what “regularly” means differs for each person.
I’d be happy to talk to you about what it means for you. Also, if you’re wondering HOW to make the updating experience more meaningful for you, I’d be happy to do that too! You can click the link below to book a free call. But for now, the biggest takeaway from this message to you is – make time to update your resume regularly and intentionally keep a look out for the benefits.