Five Reasons to Keep Your Resume Always Updated

Man using a laptop computer saying, "Wow... I haven't updated my resume in years!"Individuals needing to revise their resumes often comment, “It hasn’t been updated in quite a while.” The need to modify their resumes usually occurs because something has come up, and now they need to locate those old, outdated resume files and give them a major tune-up. But why did they let their resumes get out of date in the first place? Maybe, up until now, they have been content with their current job and not actively looking to change, so why bother? Not surprisingly, it probably was just not a task anywhere near the top of their never-ending to-do list. Still, I always wonder why people let this happen. After all, there are at least five reasons to keep your resume always updated.

A Vacancy Could Suddenly Appear with Your Current Employer

The job landscape with your current employer can be very unpredictable. People may get promoted, leaving their old positions to be backfilled. What about that person who has been there forever, the one you were sure would never leave? They could surprise everyone by retiring unexpectedly or accepting a job at another firm. Unfortunately, vacancies can also occur due to terminations, health issues, or personal reasons. Tragically, unexpected deaths can also leave positions open that must be quickly filled. If a position suddenly becomes vacant for any of the above reasons and it is one you are interested in, you will need to have your resume ready.

A New Opportunity Might Arise Elsewhere

Perhaps you are not all that happy with your current employer or job. You might have thought more than once about looking elsewhere but never did anything about it. Then, suddenly, you learn about an opening for a position with another company that really catches your interest. However, by the time you hear about it, the application deadline could be short, maybe even tomorrow! Submitting your old, outdated resume is not putting your best foot forward and certainly will not help your chances for an interview. You will be up all night, hastily attempting to make revisions if you plan to apply in time!

You Might Get Approached by a Recruiter or Colleague

Here’s something that has happened to me and others I have worked with. Suddenly, the phone rings at your desk, or you receive an email. Surprise! It’s a recruiter (aka headhunter) or a colleague/friend from another company telling you about an excellent opportunity, and they think you would be just perfect for it! These folks typically want to move quickly, so they’ll want your resume right away.

You Could Get Laid Off

Sometimes you can see it coming. Other times, you can’t. Layoffs occur for any number of reasons: your company gets merged or sold, a slump in sales, inflation, right-sizing, consolidation of departments or facilities, your product or service becomes obsolete, changing regulatory requirements, a devastating lawsuit, and that’s just a few that immediately come to mind. Think it can’t happen to you? Ask the millions of workers who get laid off every year! Should a layoff happen, unless you’re financially independent, you will need to look for another job, and fast! The job search, interview, and hiring process can take months, so you must move quickly. Which, of course, means you need an updated resume ready to go ASAP.

The Older the Information, the Harder it is to Find

Just ask anyone who has ever updated an old resume and you will likely get the same response: finding all the needed information can be challenging and is definitely time-consuming. Dates of employment, specific duties, exact job titles, etc., may not all immediately come to mind. Since your resume needs to be accurate, you’ll need to search through all your old files and records, assuming they have not been deleted or tossed out! Periodically keeping your resume up to date means you won’t have to waste time scrounging around for years-old stuff.

Just do it

So there you have it: five reasons to keep your resume always updated. To borrow the tagline from Nike: just do it. As changes in your work life or responsibilities occur, take a few minutes and update your resume. Seriously, when done this way, we’re only talking minutes!

Remember, too, that even though your resume will have the latest information, it still must be tweaked for any job you pursue. Why? Remember the ATS (applicant tracking system) that serves as a gatekeeper between you and a job interview? Check out my ATS post here. The good news is that at least now you can better utilize your time making the resume ATS-friendly for that specific job instead of digging around for old information!

Featured image courtesy of RDNE Stock project at


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