7 Reasons To Update Your Resume Even If You're Not Looking

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By Jo Casey

Work is going well, and you have a job you enjoy with great benefits. You feel like you have a future at this company. You have no intention of moving on anytime soon. You're in a good place professionally, so you may never need to think about revisiting your boring old resume ever again!

Unfortunately, that's a myth. In fact, everyone should review their resume and keep it up-to-date no matter where they are in their career.

If you haven't revisited your resume for awhile, read on for seven reasons why you should polish it this very moment:

1. Remind yourself of your skills and achievements

A resume isn't just a list of job titles and how long you've worked at various jobs. It's a record of your body of work.

Your resume contains info about what you've learned, the skills you've developed and the differences you've made in your career. Having a clear sense of your journey will help you make smart short-term and long-term plans for your career.

2. Give yourself a confidence boost

When you're in the thick of day-to-day work, it's easy to forget how far you've come and in which areas you've developed. By revisiting your accomplishments periodically, you'll better be able to track your own professional progress and make sure the important ones make it to your resume.

If you update your resume just every few years or only when you're looking for a job, you might completely forget about new skills because you mastered them so long ago. By keeping your resume up-to-date, you can see how you've grown even from a few months ago.

3. Understand yourself better

One of the keys to happiness, impact and career development is understanding yourself. Your resume is the blueprint not only of your skills and achievements, but also of your preferences, passions and values. Every role you've ever had has been a reflection of who you are.

You can learn from the jobs you loved, the ones you hated and those that were just a bit "blah."

Dig deep. Did you thrive in a particular type of environment? Did you enjoy working in teams or independently? Did you thrive working for innovative fast-changing organizations or those that valued evolution and heritage?

Analyze what lit you up and has worked along your career path, as well as what hasn't worked. Use the information you learn about yourself to tailor your own work towards your preferences.

4. Reflect on your key lessons and identify development areas

Your key achievements happened for a reason. And so did your mistakes. Have a look at your resume and think about which events have been great teachers. What did you learn? How have you moved forward with those learnings? What could you do to develop even further?

5. Develop a clearer idea of your strengths

Research has shown that the more you work to your strengths, skills and passions, the happier and more productive you are. In other words, it's not doing great work that brings you happiness, but feeling happy that helps you do great work.

So, how have you worked toward your strengths in the past? How can you do it more in the future? How can you consciously use those strengths more often and in new ways?

6. See the thread that binds your body of work together

Resumes give you a high-level view of your career. Patterns start to emerge that can give you new insights into your career and where you might want to head in the future. Ask yourself what thought processes led to you make those career choices. Would you do anything differently?

7. Prepare yourself for the worst

The world of work has changed beyond recognition over the past 20 years. It's a sad fact, but you never know when your resume might come in handy. Having one that's up-to-date will help you hit the ground running if you ever do need to look for alternative work.

If you have an updated resume you can send out quickly, you'll recover more quickly after a layoff and have less to stress about. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.

Revisiting your resume can feel like a pain in the butt. It takes time and requires that you reflect on your career journey. But it doesn't have to be so painful. The more frequently you update your resume, the less work it really is. Plus, revisiting your accomplishments will help you develop confidence and clearer direction in your career.

Jo Casey is a trainer and coach who helps people find more joy, passion and impact in their work. You can connect with Jo at www.jocasey.com, where you can sign up for her free "Work Happier Now" video course.
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