Updating Your Resume + Why it’s Important

A colleague and I recently started a women’s networking group. After searching out ways to network and really coming up with nothing, we took matters into our own hands and created our own group. So far we’ve had two meetings and they’ve been a hit. We’re looking forward to hosting more, which is really exciting. So for our last meeting we discussed why it’s important to keep our resumes and bios updated.

The majority of us at the meeting happened to wrap up annual review season, some members of the group were entrepreneurs and some were creatives. In what ever form your resume is – we decided if you’re working for a company, even if you’re not looking for a job, the best time to update your resume is around review time. Your resume is your selling point, it is meant to highlight your skills and accomplishments. Your annual review is a summary highlighting your skills and accomplishments throughout the year, so it makes sense to copy the information from your review on to your resume, because you’ve already done the work. Who doesn’t like saving time?

For those of you who are self-employed, it’s equally as important to update your bio. As one member of our group pointed out, you may need to submit a bio to attend a conference. What if you don’t have a bio? Or your bio is 5 years old and you need a current one? Obviously you didn’t go into business to write bios, but you’re skill is your money maker. For business owners, take a look at your bio, update it based on any new skills, achievements, awards, or continuing education that may happen over the course of a year.

Creative types have resumes highlighting their technical skills and education, but the proof is in your work. Portfolios are digital and technology is changing, fast. Your artistic talents are your money maker. Before updating that reel, portfolio or deck, make sure the work you add to it gets clearance from your boss or clients — much of creative work is under NDA, or rights are owned by the company. You don’t want to get yourself into legal hot water, so do your research first. And always give credit, where credit is due.

Doing all this is a total pain, right? Ugh! Who want’s to come home after a long day, and update this stuff? No one. The idea is, to chip away at it little by little. Even if it’s a few sentences here and there, or a small edit to your reel. Every little bit helps. Another key take away is making sure you’re in a good head space. It sucks having to update your resume when you’re spent, pissed off and have one foot out the door from a job that you’re ready to leave.

Alternatively, if you’re not big on updates or writing, or have a hard time selling yourself; hire a resume writer. A good one is worth the money and they have a way of using language that can really sell a person. Bio’s, resume’s and reels are ways to show off your talents, your skills and how amazing you are. As one person in our networking group said, “if you’re resume isn’t current, you might be missing out on jobs you’re not even looking for.”

I’ve done a fair amount of recruiting and scanning resumes and there are a few things that stood out to me, which are I think are important to share:

  1. Less is best. That busy header, with the headshot and cool infographics on your resume, takes up valuable real estate on your resume. The infographics are great, but it’s a canned template and the person scanning your resume wants to see your talents.
  2. Presentation is everything, font’s should be in order of priority and don’t use more than 2 fonts and 3 sizes / formats. Otherwise it’s busy.
  3. Larger companies have resume scanners, so submit your resume in Word and make sure there isn’t fancy formatting happening, other wise the scanner won’t pick up your resume.
  4. Proof read, proof read, proof read. Have someone you trust review your resume.
  5. Always, submit a cover letter. Even if it’s a few sentences, which is even better. When you’re reviewing 200+ resumes, a couple of paragraphs get glossed over.
  6. Explain gaps, career changes, job hopping in your cover letter, do it in a few sentences but remember, it’s all in how you spin it.
  7. It’s okay to have a 2-page resume. If you’ve been working at a job for awhile and got promoted through the years, or have some technical experience — it’s fine. If you’re just starting out though, keep it to one page.
  8. Everyone says this: use key words. What are key words?? I’m not really sure, but I’m thinking they are simple words related to what you do.
  9. If you are applying for jobs, make sure to tailor it to the job, you don’t have to spend a ton of time doing this, but your resume and cover letter will stand out. It’s really obvious when a resume hasn’t been tailored.
  10. If you are updating your bio, make sure you have a great headshot to go with it. My bio is obviously lacking one 🙂 Do as I say, not as I do, right?

Breathe, this can be overwhelming, but try to keep it as simple as possible. When all else fails, use the internet for inspiration. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.