After putting my human resource credentials to work in companies of many different shapes and sizes, I’ve found that a resume, the page or two document that summarizes why someone should choose and pay you to do what you do, is important beyond a particular environment or industry. Even in these days of virtual professional networking, always having the information a resume pulls together in a workable, easily updatable form can only make your life better. Why? To put it simply: Being prepared helps you to best deal with change.
Too often we know people with unhappy or unstable employment situations who are also unprepared to search or seize job opportunities. The easiest way to be ready for the bad — and open to the good — changes your professional life may hold is to make time each year to update your resume. Having this one document in a usable state should make you feel empowered; it should give you more confidence when facing uncertainties and more direction when pursuing possibilities.
To make sure you’re not caught unprepared, here are some tips to help you successfully maintain your resume:
Enlist the help of a friend.
Swap resumes. Check grammar and spelling. Ask each other questions. Ultimately, make sure what you both want to convey are what’s being seen. By asking someone you know for this kind of help, you should feel comfortable getting and giving honest feedback. By returning the favor, you needn’t worry about being an imposition.
Take advantage of local resources.
Many cities have free services to help you with resume writing as part of job assistance programs. To start looking for assistance, try a web search or head to your local library. Even if such services aren’t available in your area, you can discover more information about resumes in hard copy and electronic references.
Regularly review yourself.
Whether your employer gives you performance reviews or not, take time on your own to think about your skills and development. Consider what you’ve learned and accomplished over the last year, and update the details in your resume. Make time for this on an anniversary, during your work review process (if you have one) or at another important time each year, so you won’t easily forget when to do it.
It may be the foundation for many funny scenes in television and film, but in reality, stretching the truth on your resume isn’t worth the risk. Ending up responsible for something you can’t handle can be a disaster waiting to happen. A new job holds a lot of promise, but with that potential can also come pressure. There’s no reason to add stress by trying to be anyone other than yourself.
Save multiple copies.
Make sure there’s a backup for your backup. It’s easier than starting over from scratch should you lose your file!