You’re one of the lucky ones (or a Cubicle Warrior…Scot): You have a job and are not actively looking for a new one. You’ve filed away your resume, and your cover letter, in the hopes that you won’t need them again for a very long time. (We hope that too.)
“I have a contract,” you say. “I won’t need to look for a job anytime soon. Besides, I have my LinkedIn profile.”
That’s great, and fantastic that you are utilizing LinkedIn for your career — but still, you should have your resume handy at all times. Why is your maintaining your resume so important?
1) It keeps track of what you do
When the time comes to look for a new job a year, two years, five years down the line, and you have to update your resume, will you remember all the tasks and accomplishments of your previous job? Sure, the big projects will stand out to you but what about the other important tasks that may not have occurred as often but may be the key to your next great job? Keep your resume handy and every couple of months, update with your highlights.
2) Your information changes
You may move. Your phone number may change. You might have gone back to school for a new degree. These may seem like pieces of information you’d remember to update when dusting off the old resume but if you’re focused more on updating your experience, you just might forget. How will you get that new job if they can’t get a hold of you with that outdated information?
3) It comes in handy for performance reviews
This kind of goes hand in hand with the first item on our list. When that performance review time rolls around, you want to highlight the proper accomplishments to your boss, who may have forgotten. Having an updated resume will make it easier for you to refresh your (and his or her) memory.
4) You’ll be prepared for the unexpected: Things happen
Unfortunate things happen. Companies have to downsize, you have a falling out with your boss (but, obviously, try to avoid burning bridges!)… and the next thing you know, you have to send out your resume to a new employer. Instead of trying to make sure your resume is updated, formatted and properly named at the last minute, wouldn’t it be easier to just have a shiny resume waiting to be passed on to the companies with one click? We think so.
5) Opportunities appear out of nowhere
Sure, you’re happy now where you are, but you never know when you’ll get that out-of-the-blue call from an ex-coworker who just joined a hot new startup. “The CEO is in town tomorrow. I told him about you and he wants to meet. Email me your resume beforehand.” Never use the excuse of being comfortable in a job to prevent yourself from exploring new opportunities.
How do you keep your resume updated throughout the year? Has having an up-to-date resume helped your career in one way or another?
Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Gerrit has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. Gerrit is a regular contributor to the startup advice site Bootstrapper, hosts the “Vital Topics” panel of the Road2Shambala podcast, and spearheaded the 2log competitive blogging platform. You can connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.