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Learning Is a Lifelong Journey: Why You Need to Regularly Update Your Resume

update your resume

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

You already have a job and you hate having to update your resume, why would you do it when you don’t need to?

Resumes often get a groan because they can be tricky things to create. How are you supposed to condense your work and education into such a tiny space? How are you supposed to convince an HR department to call you based on a single resume?

Because few people love updating their resumes, many of us have an outdated ones hidden away on our computers somewhere. Out of sight, out of mind eh? 

But keeping your resume updated isn’t just saving yourself time in the future. It can show you a huge amount about your life and career progress. It can tip you into your dream job before you’ve even started looking. 

Updating your resume might be the best thing you do for yourself. Not convinced? We’ve compiled a list of reasons why you should refresh that document today. 

1. Save Yourself Last-Minute Panic

Recruiters work on commission so they like to reach out to skilled people often. If a recruiter called you today and asked for your resume, would you feel happy sending them your current version?

If you’ve been in your job for a while, your resume won’t even list your current role. Much less show the skills you’ve gained and your achievements in it. 

As far as your resume knows, you’re still working at that cafe selling milkshakes. 

You never know when you might spot a job or get a call that requires an up-to-date resume ASAP. Updating an old one can take a lot of time so you don’t want to rush it out and lose the opportunity. 

Keeping your resume updated on your computer in an easy-to-find place will wipe out that last-minute panic.

2. Add in Achievements as You Go

Have you ever achieved something big only to downplay it a week later? The novelty and buzz can wear off quickly and you might forget that it was a big achievement in the first place. 

By adding in your results and achievements to your resume as they happen, it’ll always show how experienced you are in the present day. If you leave it for another year, you could forget about that award you got or that amazing result you gained for your company. 

3. Reassess Your Career Objectives

We often choose jobs that we can already do, forgetting that our careers are an upward journey. By looking at your resume and updating it, you’ll see the timeline of your working life mapped out clearly. 

This can highlight whether you’re on the right trajectory or if you’ve stagnated. When it’s all laid out, you can see whether you’re reaching your career objectives or if it’s time to make a plan to get where you want to go. 

Resume fashions change and a huge shift occurred when companies moved from paper resumes to emailed PDFs or online versions. Now many HR professionals will be looking at resumes on a screen, it’s important to make yours visually enticing. 

Research resume trends for your industry to see the latest design ideas. Creatives tend to have colorful and cleverly designed resumes while the administration sector might have one color and a clean design. 

No matter what style you go for, steer away from the dull classic resume of twenty years ago. Even a simple black and white resume can be modern with a little flair and a clean layout. 

5. Get Career Inspiration

Are you feeling stuck in your role? Or perhaps you’re currently unemployed and feeling lost? Either way, your resume can be a valuable source of inspiration. 

No matter how random your job history looks at first glance, there’s almost always a pattern to be found within it. Something that’s drawn you to each job you’ve had. When you update your resume, it’s easier to spot the common factors. 

Have all your roles involved helping people? Are you always drawn to research? Maybe your jobs always link to the medical industry and you want to progress as a medical assistant. You can also see if two passions keep cropping and look for jobs that combine them. 

6. Be Prepared to Use It

The economy is a tricky creature and many companies won’t tell their staff when trouble is coming before it’s too late. Redundancy is a big fear for many employees and understandably so. Self-employed people are also at risk of losing business and needing a resume to get part or full-time work. 

By keeping your resume up to date, you’ll be prepared for the worst eventuality at a moment’s notice. It’ll be ready and waiting with your current contact details and work experience to start sending out as soon as you discover you’re being made redundant. 

7. Out With the Old

Ever written ‘word processing’ in your skills list? Yeah…back in the 90s. These days listing ‘Word’ as a skill can make you look old-fashioned as the majority of jobs will expect you to have this type of skill. 

As Microsoft Office skills are a given, it might be time to get solid training in it and other common software. By learning timeless skills like computerized accounting, your skills will also be transferable. 

You can list more modern platforms and systems you’re well-versed in and skills that might not have even existed last time you applied for a job. Technology changes quickly so update your resume to reflect the latest skills and software you have experience in. 

The same goes for experience and education that is no longer relevant. Your bar skills once might’ve been useful but if now you’ve worked for two big companies, you can get rid of that kind of irrelevant work. 

Your latest education usually implies previous education so if you have a degree, you can knock your high school diploma off your resume. Nobody needs to know that anymore. 

8. What Do You Need to Impress?

The easiest way to see your next step is by updating your resume and seeing the gaps. If you work in programming but haven’t learned a new, in-demand language, it might be time to train up in it. 

If you’re a graphic designer but have never learned the design trends of the biggest up-and-coming platform, you can see what you need to do next. By looking at job listings that you’d like to aim for, you can see which skills are required. 

If your resume doesn’t include these, you know it’s time to start learning them. 

Learning Doesn’t End When You Start Work

The best job candidates are often those who’ve continued their education throughout their working lives. Trends and tech are constantly evolving and there’s a course for everything you can imagine. 

By taking part-time courses while you work, you’ll always have new and impressive skills to put on your resume. This dedication to improving your knowledge shines through when an HR professional is looking at a pile of resumes. 

Employers understand that you won’t already know everything in a new role, but if they can see that you proactively learn in your free time, they’ll know you can handle it. 

How to Update Your Resume

The good news is, that the more often you update your resume, the easier it will be each time. If it’s been a while, the first thing to do is search online for resume ideas in your industry. This will give you layout and design ideas. 

The next thing to do is to check your contact details. Put in a professional email address and your website if you have one. 

Then go through your resume and take out anything that’s out of date. Replace it with new skills and achievements. Remove any generic words, like ‘problem-solver’. Instead, show this through your work experience. 

A great tip is to show your resume to friends with recruitment experience or friends who will be honest with you. It can be easier to spot mistakes in someone else’s resume than in your own. This is great for grammar and spelling errors too. 

Update Your Resume to Stay on Top of Your Career

There are plenty of benefits aside from getting a job when you update your resume. It can help you work out what’s missing from your experience and show you the path you’re currently on. 

When it comes to increasing your knowledge and skillsets, it might be time to look into taking a course and continuing your education. Luckily, you don’t have to live near an educational institution to take courses these days. There are plenty of online courses that can help you move into the next phase of your career. 

Check out our online programs to see a range of great career options that are yours for the taking. 

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