Not having a job is terrifying and stressful. It can be draining to worry if you will get a return call from your most recent interview or if you will be able to keep the lights on next month. You polish your resume time and time again, targeting it toward specific jobs and writing up cover letters for each application.
Then you finally land the new job. All is well in the world.
After getting a job and jumping out of the ranks of the unemployed, it is easy to ignore your resume. You just got this great new job. Your bills are paid and you have income coming in.
You don’t need it now, right?
Exactly! At least, if you like being back in the unemployment line. If not, read on.
Why You Need to Consistently Update Your Resume
Don’t think you need to update your resume after you get a job or have been employed for many years? Think again. Layoffs, mergers, realignments, and other causes of job loss are always a possibility. The last thing you want to do is be out on the street before you can figure out what happened – or what to do. These tips can help you avoid that mistake, and others.
Avoid Panic During Job Loss
The absolutely worst time to update your resume is the day you get laid off from your job. You are on an emotional roller coaster of panic, fear, and anxiety. You’re right back where you were the last time you were unemployed and you will not be prepared.
In this emotional frenzy it is unlikely you will remember what you did on a day to day basis and what achievements were met on your watch. Looking back every 6 months or so will help you remember some of the critical impacts you had for your employer during that time.
Remember Major Projects
Likewise, it can be easy to forget about major projects just a few years removed from them. Sure, you might remember the overall idea of the project that saved the company. But specific details that a hiring manager might want to hear about? Not likely. This is especially true if you stay with the same employer for a significant length of time. You’ll be surprised how much you actually do in a given year when you start to document it. Take credit for your work!
Connect with Other Professionals
This tip is more helpful for LinkedIn profiles and digital resumes than a traditional paper resume, but updating your major projects and the work you are doing will give you more opportunity to network, connect, and collaborate with other professionals in your field. Having vague details won’t attract anyone to want to learn more about your work, details will.
Find Your Next Job
Of course a resume helps you find your next job; you probably just used it to get your last job.
There’s a key difference here, though. It’s critical: the best time to find your next job is while you still have your old job.
Employers want to hire employed people. Employed individuals’ skills are fresh and another company appears to value them, so as a prospective employer we should be interested in hiring that person, too. They are at least worth an interview.
Contrast that with the person who has been unemployed for 14 months and is struggling to get by. Hiring managers start to wonder why no one else has hired this candidate. They presume the candidate’s skills are out of date even if they got job training of some kind since their last job.
It’s just not as easy when you’re unemployed. So be proactive, keep your resume updated, and find the next job when you are the most desirable: as someone else’s employee.