How Often Should You Dust off Your Resume?
Years ago, an employer gave me an interesting piece of advice. She told me that every one to two years, I should update my resume and apply for jobs outside of my current company. Since I had been working for her for a couple of years, my first thought was that she was trying to get rid of me by encouraging me to seek employment elsewhere. Fortunately, after some discussion I realized that she didn’t want to lose me as an employee; however, she did want me to have a successful career.
Here are a few of the reasons why periodically dusting off your resume, applying for jobs and going on interviews (even when you are reasonably happy in your current position) will help you to find success in your career.
- Determine how marketable you are:
Too often, people wait until they are unemployed to find out how marketable they are in their desired field. Why wait until you unemployed to find out how well you will fare in the job market? Update your resume to include your most recent skills, training and education and submit it to a few open positions around town. If you hear back, chances are that you can hold your own in the current job market. If not, it may be time to find out what your peers are doing to make themselves more enticing to employers. The more marketable you are, the more likely you are to get that raise you’ve been waiting for, get chosen for a promotion, and ultimately keep your job.
- Find out what you are lacking:
If you don’t hear back from any companies after submitting your resume, your peers likely have something listed on their resume that you don’t. This should be a red flag and should be addressed. Read over your resume with a critical eye, talk to a trusted coworker, and spend some time on LinkedIn to find out what your peers have that you don’t. Once you discover the gap in your resume, do your best to fill it. Attend trainings, ask for help to develop a specific skill set, and find continuing education classes if necessary.
- Be prepared, “just in case”:
It’s never a bad idea to be prepared to re-enter the job market. After all, companies go through downsizing, roles shift, and job satisfaction fluctuates. Be proactive and prepare for these situations by updating your resume and practicing your interviewing skills before you face the added stress of unemployment. Editing your resume, adding any new information and putting some feelers out is a good insurance policy “just in case”.
- Get out of a career rut:
Do you feel stuck in your current position? Have you been passed over for promotions and don’t see any room to move up in your company? If so, you may be experiencing a career rut. This does not necessarily mean that you are unhappy in your current role, but one way to get out of it is to find out what else is out there. You may gain a new appreciation for your current situation OR you may realize what you are missing out on by staying with your company.
Keep in mind that just because you apply for a job, you may not be ready to accept a job offer and move on to a new company. There are many benefits from simply keeping your options open and your resume current!