Have you ever tried, at the end of an internship for example, to recall everything you did on a particular job? It’s difficult to muster up the words to describe every thing of note that you accomplished and even harder to fit all that stuff onto a single page. Now imagine if you’ve been working at the same company for twenty years and were suddenly laid off, with only a pink slip and your 20 year old resume in hand. Now try remembering what you did 20 years ago, or 10, or five… it’s damned impossible. That’s why you should update your resume every three months no matter what. You could be in your dream job working as the right hand man/woman to the CEO of your company right now, it doesn’t matter, update your resume every three months. You could’ve won the lottery and sitting on your ass drinking mohitos in the Caribbean, it doesn’t matter, update your resume every three months. There are a lot of reasons, here are a handful:
1. Your memory now of now is better than your memory of now in a month. No matter how good your memory is, what you remember now will surely trump what you will be able to recall one, two, or ten years later. You never know when you’ll need to pull out the resume so it’s always good to have it updated with the freshest information.
2. It’s important to chart your progress. If you can’t put something new on your resume every three months, you’re not doing what you’re good at or what you’re doing is entirely unremarkable. Every three months you should be able to put something on be it an accomplishment, a new skill, a new award or new something. If you can’t, you need to investigate what you’ve been doing the last three months of your life and figure out if the next three months will be different.
3. People get fired /demoted/transferred out of their dream jobs everyday. You might be in your dream job right now but you might not be your boss’ dream candidate – be prepared for that eventuality. Your dream job might turn out to be your nightmare, your dream job might be gone in the next budget cycle, there are a lot of things that could take you away from your dream job. No one ever expects to get fired. It’s important to keep the one thing that is constant, you, will be covered in the event you need to find a new job.
4. You may one day want to move on. Your resume is your life’s professional work on one single solitary page (or maybe two). It’s easier to keep it crisp every three months than it is to dust it off after three years and try to get it sparkling again. What was the name of that small project worked on two years ago?
5. The grass is greener. It really is. QUIT QUIT QUIT QUIT.
The bottom line is that one day you and your job will separate and for many of us it won’t come with a retirement party, cake, and the obligatory Cracker Jack box watch – be prepared for it.