If you are like most job seekers out there, chances are high that you update your resume only when you need to.
Which makes sense. Why spend hours updating your resume when you are happily employed?
Consider this quick resume writing tip from Executive Coach, Dr. Susan Bernstein: keep a log file, or update your resume as you go.
On one hand, you don’t need to spend an evening updating it all in one shot. You also have an up-to-date copy that you can provide within moments if contacted by a recruiter, or if you have a networking opportunity.
More importantly, as Bernstein points out, is that you are likely to forget your accomplishments years – even months after they have occurred.
She recommends: “make it a practice every Friday…list what you accomplished (that week).” It can be as simple as a running list that you punch into your phone/tablet/Evernote on your commute home or lunch break.
Here’s a quick list of items you should record each week:
- New skills you gain. Even if you picked up a small skill that is tangential to your work and is only used once in a blue moon, record it! If you find a job that includes this skill as a “nice to have,” lift it from your record and paste it into your resume.
- Projects you achieved ahead of schedule or under budget. We don’t always recall the small details – especially when a project has been completed, celebrated, and put out of mind so that you can focus on the next one. That’s why you should make detailed notes of these accomplishments. Saying that a project was completed 2 months ahead of schedule and $$$ under budget paints a much more exciting picture on your resume than simply stating “Completed ahead of schedule and under budget.”
- Major deals you landed or revenue generated. You will thank yourself for this one! If you no longer work at a company (either a sudden lay-off, or you left years ago), you probably no longer have access to details about revenue you generated, or a full context of how your work impacted the bottom line for the company. Rather than breaking into your former office in the middle of the night to look up the data, log it every week!
It shouldn’t end there. Keep a list of stories – like the time you rallied your team when morale was low. While they might not have a place in your resume, they are valuable in interviews when responding to requests such as “Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge.”