How Often Should You Update Your Resume What is a Resume? The Difference Between a Resume and a CV When and How to Update Your Outdated Resume Tips For Updating Your Resume Bottom Line
How Often Should You Update Your Resume What is a Resume? The Difference Between a Resume and a CV When and How to Update Your Outdated Resume Tips For Updating Your Resume Bottom Line
Updated 28/12/2020

How Often Should You Update Your Resume

Did you know that you should regularly update your resume? In this article, you can learn about when an update is necessary and ways you can do that.

Did you know that you should regularly update your resume? In this article, you can learn about when an update is necessary and ways you can do that.

A strong resume is a powerful self-representation tool when it comes to getting a job. Being employed, you probably won’t think about updating your resume any time soon. However, adding changes to it as they occur can be an advantage to you. Below you can learn about all those points in your career when you might want to upgrade your resume.


What is a Resume?

A resume is a formal document explicitly created to outline the job seeker’s skills, work experience, and professional abilities. Generally, a good resume should include the following aspects:

  • The applicant’s contact information – It should include their name, phone number, email, and preferably some links to social media accounts.
  • A summary - This part should play the role of your resume’s bio. Include your most prominent skills and accomplishments and put it at the top of your resume.
  • Previous work experience - A resume should contain only those aspects of your previous work experience relevant to each particular position. It would be a smart move to create several resumes if you plan to apply for more than one job.
  • Education - In this section, you should mention your school name, any degree or major you have, and your previous professional certifications that might be of interest to a potential employer. If you’re just starting your career path – be as specific as possible about your training,
  • Professional skills - Relevancy is the key here, so put your resume skills that will bring the most significant value to the job you’re applying for.

You can also consider adding some additional points to your resume, such as your hobbies, certifications, languages you speak, publications, etc.

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The Difference Between a Resume and a CV

While both these documents are aimed to present a job seeker to a potential employer, there are still some differences that you should consider.

The first difference is that a resume is always competency-based. It means that its primary goal is to explain why the candidate is a perfect fit for the position. That is why a resume always includes only the most relevant skills and experience of the candidate. In contrast, a CV is a credential-based document used for academic purposes such as applying for higher education, etc. That is why it usually lists all the candidate’s skills, achievements, and prior professional experiences during their whole life.

The second difference is the length of the documents. While the resume typically doesn’t exceed one page, a CV might take two or even three pages.

The third difference is the formatting. Considering that a resume should be short and purposeful, it often includes bulleted lists, while the CV is long and mainly just a plain text.


When and How to Update Your Outdated Resume

Updating your resume is a relatively small but significant part of your career path. It is only natural that most people might rarely think something like, “Hey, I should update my resume!” being officially employed for a long time. However, by adding a little more regularity to this matter, you can only win. Let us tell you of all of the situations when it is the best time to update your resume.

You’ve Finished a Project

Let’s say you’ve finished a big project or an important job assignment. You probably won’t remember every detail about it a month later. That is why you should start updating your resume immediately after completing the task while everything is still fresh in your memory. Make sure that you add some quantifiable results that you managed to achieve while working on this project. It will help the recruiter see that your achievements are real and not just something you made up. Research shows that inserting a number every three sentences in your resume gives you a 40% boost over your competition.

You can also point out the complications that you faced and overcame in the process, how many people were on your team, and what your primary responsibilities were.

You Received a New Certification or a Degree

It might so happen that the company you’re applying to is looking not only for specific skills in all candidates but also a certification or a degree. In this case, updating the education section of your resume can help you meet a potential employer's requirements, prove your industry expertise, and improve your chances of getting a job.

When You Got Promoted

A promotion is a serious reason to celebrate. However, it is also a good reason to update your resume. Make sure that you include your current position, but don’t just mention the title – explain how you earned the position and what qualities and skills helped you with that.

You Acquired a New Skill

Skills always strengthen and improve a resume, so keeping them current is a must. While updating this part of your resume, delete skills that are no longer relevant, and add some new ones. You can also go through some current job openings for a similar position in your industry and look at what skills are currently in demand.

Skills that you mention on your resume can also serve as keywords relevant for the position you’re applying for if you’re in the middle of a job search. Sometimes before being reviewed by a recruiter, resumes will undergo an initial computer screening. This is done to save the recruiter’s time and select only those who have what it takes for a particular position. A program scans the resume for certain keywords, and if you lack those – you might not even pass the initial screening test. Therefore, by adding skills that match the desired position requirements, you increase your chances of passing the initial selection stage.

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You’ve Lost a Job

A situation might occur when you need to find a new job very quickly. It does not necessarily mean being fired. You can simply become a victim of downsizing in the company. It might come at you absolutely unexpectedly and require you to start looking for a job immediately.

In this case, you might wish you had a relevant resume on your hands. An important part of updating a resume when you have fallen as a part of the downsizing process is not trying to hide it. Instead of trying to cover up the fact that you’re unemployed, which might put off recruiters, put the reasons for your termination in your resume’s summary.

It is good to find any new occupation right away, for example, a volunteer position. It will add value to your resume from the recruiter’s perspective. You will seem like someone proactive and hardworking rather than a person just sitting there waiting for the new change to come knocking at their door.

You Were Presented a New Opportunity

Sometimes the job of your dreams unexpectedly comes knocking at your door. For example, a friend of yours is about to leave their position and offered you to take it. In a situation like this, having an updated resume on your hand will be a real savior. You would only need to send it to the right person and seize the opportunity. In this situation, timing is everything, as you might lose the opportunity to someone else.

What are your steps in this case? First of all, learn all there is to know about this new position and its requirements. Then update your resume according to those requirements. You can also update your resume’s summary to show why you are the best fit for this position.

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Tips For Updating Your Resume

Updating a resume on your own might be confusing for some people, especially if you don’t know where to start. Here are some important tips for you to consider:

  1. Delete all the irrelevant information. Your resume should be a short representation of your best and most appropriate skills for the job. If a skill has been lost or is a bit rusty – it is best to delete it until you are sure that you can use it to its full capacity.
  2. Put your strongest traits at the top of each section. Your resume may only get a brief scan from the recruiter at first. By putting your most important skills and achievements on top – you will increase your chances to be noticed and invited over for the interview.
  3. Check your grammar. Relying only on grammar-checking applications isn’t the best choice as something might still slip through. So after you’re finished with updating your resume, carefully reread it or ask someone you know who majored in English to do it.
  4. Adjust the layout. The appearance of your resume should reinforce its content and contribute to your successful self-presentation. Therefore, it is essential to choose the right layout. The GetCoverLetter builder offers various designs for you to choose from. If you feel like your skills or education are the most critical part of your resume, you can pick a layout where these sections are placed right at the beginning of your resume. This way, you will immediately draw the recruiter's attention to the needed information.
  5. Update your summary. A summary is supposed to give a recruiter a quick understanding of who you are and why you can fit the position. If your information in this section is outdated, the opportunity might go to the next candidate.

Bottom Line

Updating your resume isn’t that complicated and usually doesn’t take much time. However, the benefits of such a move are tremendous. It will help you present the relevant information about your career path, showcase your professional development, and broaden your career opportunities in the future. There is no universal answer to, ”How often should you update your resume?” All you need to remember is that your professional changes and significant career steps are always worth immediate reflection in your resume.

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