7 Reasons To Update Your Resume Even If You're Not Looking

You never know when you'll be looking for a job next

By Brazen Life By Jo Casey  
Work is going well, and you have a job you enjoy with great benefits. You feel like you have a future at this company. You have no intention of moving on anytime soon. You're in a good place professionally, so you may never need to think about revisiting your boring old resume ever again!

Woman biting pen looking at laptop
Unfortunately, that's a myth. In fact, everyone should review their resume and and keep it up-to-date no matter where they are in their career.

If you haven't revisited your resume for awhile, read on for seven reasons why you should polish it this very moment: 

1. Remind yourself of your skills and achievements

A resume isn't just a list of job titles and how long you've worked at various jobs. It's a record of your body of work.

Your resume contains info about what you've learned, the skills you've developed and the differences you've made in your career. Having a clear sense of your journey will help you make smart short-term and long-term plans for your career.

2. Give yourself a confidence boost

When you're in the thick of day-to-day work, it's easy to forget how far you've come and in which areas you've developed. By revisiting your accomplishments periodically, you'll better be able to track your own professional progress and make sure the important ones make it to your resume.

If you update your resume just every few years or only when you're looking for a job, you might completely forget about new skills because you mastered them so long ago. By keeping your resume up-to-date, you can see how you've grown even from a few months ago.

3. Understand yourself better

One of the keys to happiness, impact and career development is understanding yourself. Your resume is the blueprint not only of your skills and achievements, but also of your preferences, passions and values. Every role you've ever had has been a reflection of who you are.

You can learn from the jobs you loved, the ones you hated and those that were just a bit "blah."

Dig deep. Did you thrive in a particular type of environment? Did you enjoy working in teams or independently? Did you thrive working for innovative fast-changing organizations or those that valued evolution and heritage?

Analyze what lit you up and has worked along your career path, as well as what hasn't worked. Use the information you learn about yourself to tailor your own work towards your preferences.

4. Reflect on your key lessons and identify development areas

Your key achievements happened for a reason. And so did your mistakes. Have a look at your resume and think about which events have been great teachers. What did you learn? How have you moved forward with those learnings? What could you do to develop even further?

5. Develop a clearer idea of your strengths

Research has shown that the more you work to your strengths, skills and passions, the happier and more productive you are. In other words, it's not doing great work that brings you happiness, but feeling happy that helps you do great work.

So, how have you worked toward your strengths in the past? How can you do it more in the future? How can you consciously use those strengths more often and in new ways?

6. See the thread that binds your body of work together

Resumes give you a high-level view of your career. Patterns start to emerge that can give you new insights into your career and where you might want to head in the future. Ask yourself what thought processes led to you make those career choices. Would you do anything differently?

7. Prepare yourself for the worst

The world of work has changed beyond recognition over the past 20 years. It's a sad fact, but you never knowa when your resume might come in handy. Having one that's up-to-date will help you hit the ground running if you ever do need to look for alternative work.

If you have an updated resume you can send out quickly, you'll recover more quickly after a layoff and have less to stress about. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.

Revisiting your resume can feel like a pain in the butt. It takes time and requires that you reflect on your career journey. But it doesn't have to be so painful. The more frequently you update your resume, the less work it really is. Plus, revisiting your accomplishments will help you develop confidence and clearer direction in your career.

Update these 5 items on your résumé

By Debra Auerbach, 

Everything needs updating every once and awhile. After having the same haircut for a few years, it's always fun to change it up a bit. When a new season arrives, it's a good excuse to clean out the closet and update your wardrobe.
When it comes to your résumé, it's smart to periodically revisit and refresh it, even if you aren't looking for a new job at that moment. Having a current résumé will come in handy should you find yourself in a position where you need or want a new job right away.
No need to panic that your résumé needs a total overhaul. There are a few basic items that you can update easily. Here are five:

1. Contact information
This might seem like an obvious one, but if you haven't touched your résumé in a while, you may still have your old address or cellphone number on there. Also, check to see which email address you've included; you want the email address on your résumé to be as professionally sounding as possible. If your email address is still likestoparty28@hotmail.com, it's time to create a new one. Consider [first name].[last name]@hotmail.com instead.

2. Objective statement
Your objective statement may be up-to-date, well thought out and well written. The problem? You have an objective statement in the first place. Objective statements are outdated and are being replaced by professional summaries or summaries of qualifications. The difference between the two is that objective statements talk about what you want in a job; professional summaries recap your job-seeker "brand" and explain why you're the right fit for the position in question. Since this is usually the first thing hiring managers will read on your résumé, you want to make sure it grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more about your skills and qualifications.

3. Skills/areas of expertise section
The skills or areas of expertise section is usually where you list out in bullets everything you're proficient at; so anything from a certain Web design program you've mastered to your negotiating skills. Take a look at your list to make sure you can still confidently say you excel at all those skills, and see if there are any new skills you've acquired that you'd like to add. Also think about the "So what?" for each skill listed; if you can't answer or speak in depth about your expertise, don't include it. Something else to consider? Removing this section all together and incorporating your skills into the professional summary/summary of qualifications section.

4. Education
You may be proud of your 3.9 GPA or that you graduated with honors. And if you're entry level, you should include such achievements, along with relevant coursework, on your résumé. However, if you're an experienced job seeker, it's no longer necessary to mention your GPA or go into specifics about what classes you took as an undergrad. Instead, keep this section simple, listing the college you went to and its location, the degree(s) you graduated with and years attended.

Of course, if you recently went back to school to obtain a post-graduate degree or certification, that information should be included, especially if it shows how you have gained skills that will help you succeed at the job for which you're applying.

5. Formatting
With the limited amount of space that you have to include your entire work and education history, it can be tempting to use a ton of different font sizes, bullets and section breaks to break up the content and keep it organized. If your résumé looks like an eye sore, it's time for a formatting refresh. Sleek and simple is the name of the game -- use easy-to-read fonts and clean formatting. You can use all caps or a different font color to emphasize section headers, but keep it consistent and stick with basic colors such as blue.

Sure, change is never easy, but with a few simple updates to your résumé, you'll be in good shape to tackle a new job search -- whether that's a few days, months or years down the road.

Best Of: Resume And Cover Letter Crafting

Your first impression depends on these two

Remember the first time you wrote a cover letter? It was eloquent and poignant, detailing all the things an employer drools over in a job candidate. Once you completed your masterpiece, you packaged it with your equally exceptional resume and flung it out into the ether, sparking an epic, gruesome war between ten of the top companies in your desired field over a chance to employ you, the most coveted worker in all the land.

This has probably never actually happened to you (or anyone), because job hunting is a learned skill that many find arduous to master. And today, the job seeker has become loaded with more responsibilities, like constant networking, social media upkeep and outsmarting resume-scanning robots.

But there's one thing that hasn't changed about the application process and it won't give you nostalgia: the resume-cover letter combo. Check out AOL Jobs' roundup of the best resume and cover letter advice below.


Tighten up your resume with these dos and don'ts.

You may be responsible, creative and effective – but so is the rest of the job-seeking world. Keep these words off your resume to avoid blending in with the job pool.

Almost every major midsize company uses an applicant tracking system to sift through the large volume of resumes they receive.

It's no secret that many employers are screening their candidates' social media profiles before making a final decision. Rather than looking like you've got something to hide, you can open up parts of your Facebook as a supplement to your application.

Getting a job in a field you've never worked in is tough. If you're pursuing a second or third career, you can still show a prospective employer that you have the chops to take on the challenge by being honest and playing up your strengths.

Employment gaps are red flags to hiring managers. Whatever your reason is for having one, you must address it on your resume. The employer will either toss it aside, as he or she likely would if it remained unexplained, or the honesty will give you a fighting chance.

Cover Letters

The short answer is no. Most companies still require one, and even if they don't explicitly ask for it, look at it as your only chance distinguish yourself from another equally qualified candidate.

The cover letter is a chance to add some personality and discuss your interest in the company, but it should always remain professional.

The video below is part of a video blog series Nika Harper does on writing. If you've tried many conventional cover letter writing guides without good results, I encourage you to hear out Harper's thoughts, as it's some of the most current and creative help on writing cover letters that I've come across. It's sound advice, even if the occasional gamer lingo flies right over your head.