Have you ever come across your dream job on LinkedIn or been chatting with an acquaintance who offers to connect you with an executive at a company you’d kill to work for only to realize you haven’t updated your resume in about five years? Trying to update a resume in a short time is a recipe for disaster. The likelihood that it will be sloppy and include typos is high, and you’re sure to forget major projects or milestones when you’re under the gun. Don’t get caught empty-handed when an opportunity arises. You should spend at least 30 minutes once per quarter updating your resume. Spend a little time on these areas to ensure you’re not missing any important pieces when the time comes to send your resume for a potential opportunity.
A new job or promotion seems like the opposite time to be updating your resume, since you’re not looking to make a move, but this is a great time to add the new title and a brief overview of your role and responsibilities. As you get into the job, you can add more substance.
Completion of a Big Project.
If you’ve just finished a big project, whether it directly relates to your role or not, take 20 minutes that weekend to add a blurb about it to your resume. These are things that you’ll forget about in two years when you’re job searching, but can be important in reflecting your skills and experience. This is especially important when it includes tangible results that recruiters love to see like dollars saved or increased productivity.
Refine Your Objective.
Do a once over of your objective. Are new experiences properly included? For example, if you recently became a manager, is that reflected? It’s nice to have a general direction on your objective that accurately reflects where you want to go. If you’ve been a project manager for four years, it would be awful to send off a resume with an objective of growing into the role of “valuable project manager.”
Add to Your Skills List.
Did you used to be an intermediate-level Excel user, and you’ve since taken an advanced course on formulas? Update it in your skills section. Have you learned a new software as your company rolled it out? Don’t forget to include it.
It may seem silly, but the reality is that many recruiters have to sift through way too many resumes to meaningfully look over each one, so they search for buzzwords to narrow their search. Make sure you’re utilizing all necessary buzzwords for your industry and your position. For example, are you properly quantifying your budgeting skills with dollars under management? Are you including your people management skills? Do you act as a liaison between multiple divisions providing synergy while decreasing project completion time by 30%? It might seem cliché, but it just might be the way you get noticed.
Get a Fresh Perspective.
Have a friend or trusted colleague take a look to check for typos and grammatical errors. They can also lend advice on wordsmithing those technical details to maximize the value of the information you’re including. Don’t ever put a resume out there without someone else looking at it first. No matter how careful you are, a second (and third and fourth) pair of eyes should review it because it’s so easy to miss mistakes when you’ve been staring at the document for so long.
Do It Again on LinkedIn.
Got all your updates in? Now do it again on LinkedIn. Recruiters are using LinkedIn more and more to tap talent for open positions. Maybe you’re happy where you are, but a great opportunity could present itself to you that you didn’t even know you wanted. If you’re not properly updating LinkedIn, you certainly won’t get those opportunities.
Once you’re done updating your resume, scrub your social media. Don’t assume that just because you have your profiles set to private a recruiter or potential employer can’t see it. There are many ways around it. And most recruiters are utilizing social media to screen candidates. Make all or most of these a habit as you go and you’ll never be caught unprepared if a great opportunity presents itself.