This is a consumer advice column written by the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana. It appears Thursdays in Business.
Have you updated your resume lately? Whether you are actively looking for a job or in a job you love (or might be considering leaving), it's a good time to take a look.
If you're currently employed, it may be easy to dismiss the idea of updating your resume. With many employers cutting back staff, it's likely you're carrying more responsibility at work and may think you don't have the time to update your resume. However, if you're employed, this is the perfect time to update your resume.
You've probably learned that few jobs are posted on job boards or classified ads. If you're approached and asked to apply for a position – one that's even better than your current job – is your resume ready to be presented to a hiring manager or board of directors on a short turnaround?
Many employers conduct annual reviews at the end of the year. If your resume includes a summary of all your achievements from the last year, it can remind your boss of what you've contributed to the organization and justify that raise you're requesting.
Unfortunately, things change. Your employer may be downsizing, merging, reorganizing or otherwise eliminating your position. If your resume is up-to-date, you're likely to stand out among your other suddenly-unemployed coworkers who may be scrambling to update their resume while recovering from the shock of losing their job.
•If you're on the job market, it still doesn't hurt to review the resume you're distributing. Focus on reaching not just hiring managers, but also make sure your resume includes important keywords that computers may be searching for on job boards and recruiting sites. Once you've updated your resume, make sure you update it on sites like LinkedIn, job boards and your personal website if you have one. So what do you include in your resume? In addition to your job history and education, consider the following items:
•What have you done? Resumes should focus on accomplishments, not just rehash your job description. It helps to update your resume while your accomplishments are still fresh in your mind. And while you're at it, you may want to create a system to keep track of your accomplishments in the coming years as they happen.
•Brag about yourself. Include any honors or awards you've received – these could be what help you stand out among other job applicants.
•Get involved. If you're involved in charitable, community or professional organizations, add these to your resume. They show potential employers you're interested in making a difference in your local community. And leadership roles within these organizations can help advance your career and improve your skills.
•Share your expertise. Have you written about your industry or career field? Presented to a professional association? Been published in trade magazines or other similar media outlets? These kinds of activities show potential employers that you’re not just collecting a paycheck but that you’re interested in excelling in your industry.
•Never stop learning. If you attend trade conferences, trainings or seminars, or if you receive certifications, accreditations or other licensing, make sure to include it on your resume.