Someone told you to fix up your resume. You haven’t looked at it in months. So, you spend hours revising it – you shift items around, fight with your computer for space, and try to keep your eyes from crossing. You proofread it and have someone else look over it. There are no errors. It looks clean. You’re done. Don’t have to do anything with it for another year or two. Right?
A resume is a work in progress. It is a living and breathing textual representation of your experience and capabilities, both of which are constantly evolving. It’s best to come to terms with the fact that you will always be tweaking and adjusting your resume.
Here are a few reasons why:
- You will need to create different versions of your resume that are tailored to different jobs.
- You should frequently take a look at the language and word choice on your resume, and try to improve upon it. (You might not come up with the perfect job description phrase for tomorrow’s interview. That’s ok. Do your best, and maybe a few days or weeks later the right language will pop into your head).
- Hopefully you will be adding new skills over time.
- You will also be removing older experiences from your resume as you gain new ones. If you have years of professional experience, go ahead and start taking off those old high school part-time jobs.
- You should look for ways to improve the formatting. Don’t get locked into a layout simply because you finally got it to work and you are afraid to adjust it. Learn your software. Experiment.
- Your objectives and career philosophies will most likely evolve and develop over time. You’ll need to adjust your resume to reflect those changes.
The resume is not a one-time or once-a-year chore that you struggle through, cross off a list, and consider finished. Instead, it requires an ongoing process of revision and adjustment. In today’s market, many people change companies frequently, so their resumes need regular attention. This trend doesn’t seem to be changing, so…might as well try to make it fun!