Updating resume not just for the job seeker

It may be time for taking stock of one's career over the last year...the holidays being so quiet and all and that resolution thing looming. But some folks are just happy where they are, thanks. Company treating them great, good pay, still loving the job. So I've thought a bit about why someone might want to update their resume at this time of year anyway:

* To coincide with annual or semi-annual performance review process. Review process makes you step back and look at what you have done over the previous period of time, quantify results, etc. Sounds like the same process you would go through to write a resume. So as you are putting together your review documentation, review your resume. Does it still make sense? Have your responsibilities or results increased over the last year. While this stuff is top-of-mind, spiff up the resume. It's easier to do it now than any other time.

*Because you should always have an updated resume. OK, so you aren't looking. But what if that DREAM JOB crosses your path; the one and only job you would ever even consider leaving your current gig for. You know the one. You should always be prepared to pursue your dream job.

*Because management and organizational changes happen and it's a good tool to help your new manager understand what you do. I myself have had quite a few different managers here at Microsoft. And each time a management change happens, I start to think about how I am going to explain what I do to my manager (especially challenging now that I am in a non-traditional role). Resumes are good for that.

*Because when you need to update your resume, that's when you least want to do it. Because when you need to update your resume, you may not have access to your past metrics and reviews.

*Because now there's someone sitting in front of the fire place with time on their hands to proof-read it for you. Is that just at my house? Oh wait, that's just my dog. But you know what I mean.

Some other staffing folks may want to jump in here with some other reasons.

Comments (7)

  1. Travis Owens says:

    I have to agree, now-a-days I update my resume every 6 months, and by no means am I a puddle jumper, as I worked at my previous company for 10yrs (ok I changed positions a few times).

    And for a little shameless self-promotion, I’m always looking for critique on my resume, so here it goes:




    Choose your flavor!

  2. Travis Owens says:

    I have to especially agree with and expand point #4

    "..you may not have access to your past metrics and reviews."

    I tend to keep a portfolio of my work, mostly in the form of screenshots and if I don’t take these the moment a project is complete, then I will probably forget to do so, plus if I leave that job/position, I will be unable to view my old work.

    Not to mention the fact that it’s easier to make 1 minor change than a dozen changes, the more you get behind on updates, the less likely you are willing to take the time to update your resume.

  3. I kind of think new management or new managers should keep a resume updated as well so they can explain to employees why the employees should want to work for them (vs. other managers or employers). Quantification of objective and independently verified information helps.

  4. Since yesterday, I’ve asked two different people to send me their resume and both said, "Well, I’ve not updated it in years."

    Not uncommon, eh?

    Great reminder – no time like the present.

  5. Pradeep UN says:

    Hey you cant self-identify yourself as a resolution-gal and not share some of your resolutions 🙂

  6. Todd Noebel says:


    Another reason, somewhat related to the whole performance review – If you read your resume and compared it to your career plan (you do have one right?), would the two be reasonably aligned? In other words, is what you are doing now, and have done in the past, an accurate historical perspective of what you want your career to be?

    Here’s an interesting exercise. Write the future tense of your resume. Do the additions you want to see reflected in the next iteration seem plausible in your current role?

    Just a little something to consider.

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Good points all.

    Travis-sounds like you are on top of it!

    njk42-good point. I always like to see a new managers resume to give me perspective on where they are coming from and specific areas where they have expertise that they can share with me. Good one!

    Masked-red flag, right? Even a "sure, I’ll get it to you in the next few days" would have done the trick.

    Pradeep- I’m a "resolution gal?". Don’t think so…don’t believe in them. But many others do. I also don’t believe in luck or the easter bunny and I am trying not to believe in guilt. But I do still believe that there is something mean living under my bed and sometimes I need to take a flying leap to get in.

    Todd-yes, excellent. It’s a mental checkpoint on your career plan. Good advice!

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