John F. Kennedy, a man whose career makes for one heck of a resume, once remarked, “the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” As should be expected, his words make sense. After all, mid-catastrophe is a terrible time to start a new project. The added stress and condensed time frame of a disaster scenario can lead to high costs and silly mistakes. Aside from leaky roofs, this absolutely applies to job search materials, too. When a stressful storm suddenly strikes – say, a sudden firing – how many of us would feel confident in sending out our resumes to employers the very next day?
If you’re anything like me, once you land that new job, you tend to set aside your resume and dive right into your role. It’s only natural! With the hustle and bustle of everyday responsibilities, it’s tough to find time for maintaining your resume and making sure everything is up-to-date. Unfortunately, the more time you put between being active in a job and writing down the important takeaways on your resume, the harder it will be.
Think about it this way: can you remember everything you accomplished in your current job last week? Two weeks ago? How about a month ago?
That’s why it’s important to think strategically about maintaining your resume – even if you have a job. Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure you’re ready when the sun stops shining and it’s time for that next career move:
It’s More Than Just Disaster Prep
While being prepared for the doomsday scenario is important, having an updated resume is about so much more than just applying for new jobs elsewhere. Opportunity has a funny way of sneaking up on people, and you never know when there might be the chance for a promotion or a pivot at your current company. Having a document that reflects the progress you’ve made in your current role could be vital for taking that next step at your current career home! Additionally, special events such as speaking opportunities and award nominations could always pop up, so it’s important to have your accomplishments at the ready just in case.
Add New Responsibilities as You Take Them On
First and foremost, it’s important to sit down right after starting at a new job to detail your responsibilities and day-to-day tasks. At this point, there’s no need to really wordsmith it all or worry about length; right now, it’s just about getting information down that you can refer back to later. Then, make it a habit to dive back into your resume document on a regular basis to add in any new job functions you might take on along the way. For example, maybe during your regularly scheduled resume review at the end of every quarter, you add in a line about a big project you just finished that involved multiple teams across your organization. By making this sort of update routine, you’ll be better able to remember important specifics that might be otherwise lost in a last minute scramble.
Keep Track of Success Metrics
Resumes are about more than just listing job search keywords; it’s about painting a clear picture of your career success. With that in mind, it’s important to keep track of any key success metrics that you are being held accountable to in your current role. Numbers can easily get lost in the shuffle, especially in a fast-paced job where it’s constantly “on to the next one!” The next time you crush a goal or impress your boss, make sure to jot down the specific impact you made in terms of hard metrics – it’ll pay off down the road.
Mirror Updates on Digital Channels
These days, those perfectly printed paper resumes might just be collecting dust. While maintaining your resume document is important, it’s not the only piece of the career puzzle you need to keep in mind. To get the most mileage out of your career highlights, mirror what you’re adding to your resume on your applicable social media profiles. Platforms like LinkedIn offer users space to add skills that are developed and accomplishments that may be reached in addition to the more straightforward experience sections. Don’t wait until it’s too late; make it a habit to update your network on these achievements as they happen!
When you have a job, it might feel like the sun is shining on your career. However, at any given time, a storm might blow in and rock your world. Instead of being caught unprepared, make a game plan for maintaining your resume and start updating today!
How do you maintain your resume and other career advancement materials while you’re employed? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comment section below!