Keep your resume up to date

Your resume is never finished; it should be in a constant state of revision while you search for a job, and even thereafter.

Even after you land a job you should take a look at your resume from time to time, to add to it and edit it. When it’s time to start looking for a your next job you will find it is much easier to get it into shape if you’ve kept it up to date over the years. Your resume, in addition to helping you land interviews, also gives you a nice overview of your professional achievements; it serves as concise inventory of where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished and contributed in your life. Looking at it from time to time can serve as a motivational tool as you contemplate your life and set goals for the future.  Unless, of course, you fibbed on your resume, in which case it will be a constant reminder that your employment and possibly life in general are based on lies ;)

If you’re like me, you find it hard to spend long stretches of time working on your resume and editing it to a point where you it reaches the point of perfection.  So, once you’ve brought it up to a reasonable level that you’re satisfied with, take a break.

  • Distribute a few of them.  The sooner you start handing them out, the sooner you can gauge how well others see your resume.  Interviews are a good indicator that your resume is not only “pretty good” but that it is “pretty awesome.”
  • Plan to come back and work on your resume again once you’ve had a few days away from it.
    • When you procrastinate and eventually convince yourself that your resume is “good enough” even though you know it is lacking, scold yourself and take a time out in the corner.  After 15 minutes of alone time to contemplate the disservice you’ve done yourself by neglecting your resume, return to your computer and get back to work.
    • You’ll find a renewed sense of urgency and interest in your resume, particularly because you know after the 15 minutes of deep transcendental meditation in the corner that if you don’t churn out an amazing resume you may very well spend the rest of your life working at a job you don’t like.
    • You’ll have come to the realization that if you don’t try your very hardest at this moment in your life to get the best job possible, you will one day be that old guy at the bowling alley with a huge gut and a penchant for quoting lines from Big Lebowski to friends from work who bowl a mean game but whose disappointing utter satisfaction with their current, very ordinary and mundane lives, will leave you in the throes of confusion over this very long run on sentence that doesn’t seem like it has a whole lot to do with resume writing, but nonetheless has made you very sad and given you a renewed interest in working very hard on your resume.  This brings up an excellent point — get one of your friends who is an English major to read over your resume.  You probably didn’t get an English major, and you may very well lack the ability to string together a coherent sentence.  That’s where your friends, with their English majors and unnatural repulsion to innocent but grammatically incorrect sentences will come in handy.  Despite being excellent proofreaders, don’t let your friends with liberal arts degrees give you career advice.  After all, they are probably going to end up with jobs that pay considerably less than you, which means they either lack a healthy sense of the important things in job satisfaction (enough money to enable you to comfortably ignore all the bad things about your job) or you are in fact the person with an English degree, in which case I apologize for saying what I did.  But the question is now hanging in the air like the incense that you are no doubt burning in your small efficiency at this very moment: why are you taking advice from me if you’re the one with a superior handle on the English language?  But I digress.
  • Show your resume to your friends and get their input before you reach the point of mental exhaustion.  If you’re having difficult bringing your resume up from the “pretty good” to the “totally awesome” status, and feel like you’re just pounding your head against the wall, it’s time to ask somebody else what they think of your progress.  Make sure you get input from the friends of yours who are pompous egotists.  They’ll be happy to point out even the slightest of flaws in your resume because they are not very good friends.  While they have a knack for making note of your smallest flaws, they are really empty inside and are very unsatisfied with their own lives.  You can use their keen sense of criticism to smooth out the wrinkles in your resume, while at the same time stoking their overblown egos by making them think you came to them because you think they are smart.  You will have done a good deed for the day.  But I digress.

The next time you meet one of your professional goals or do something exceptional, you should put it on your resume right away. Even if you don’t keep your resume in a final polished state while you’re off the market, this good habit will help you document things that you might forget when you begin the search for your next job.

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