Whether you’re actively searching for a job or considering a career change in the future, you’ll need a resume before you make any kind of professional move. However, writing a resume is a time-intensive task that takes a lot of planning and thought, and it’s not a one-and-done operation.
It’s important that your resume is an accurate representation of your professional experiences and accomplishments — but how often should you update your resume?
Unless you gain new professional skills or take on a different role, you should update your resume once or twice a year. However, everyone’s situation is different. You might need to update it more, depending on your circumstances and goals. Keep reading to learn how often you should be revising your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or resume.
When is the best time to update your resume?
If you aren’t actively searching for a job, update your resume every six months. However, if you’re in the job market, update your resume after every significant professional development. For example, you should update your resume every time you:
- Take on a new role or responsibility at work.
- Earn a new degree or certificate.
- Gain a new professional skill.
- Attend a networking event.
- Complete a significant project at work.
Hiring managers and recruiters need to know as quickly as possible if you’re the right candidate for the position you’re applying for. Make their jobs easier by showcasing your most up-to-date skills and accomplishments at the top of your resume. That way, they can see you’re a strong, relevant candidate as soon as they start reviewing your materials.
If you need help writing or revising your resume, our free resume reviewer can help. Get valuable feedback on your document so you can jumpstart your job search now.
Advantages of regularly updating your resume
There are many reasons why you should regularly update your resume. Here are some of the benefits to making sure your resume is up to date:
- Staying ready for unexpected opportunities. Picture this: You’re at a business dinner or networking event and meet a manager who works at your dream company. You have a great conversation, and they ask you to send over your resume. The quicker you’re able to share the document, the better your chances are of remaining at the top of their mind — and landing the job.
- Tracking your achievements in real time. If you keep a running list of your professional achievements, you won’t have to go searching for them when it’s time to apply for a job. Plus, regularly updating your professional achievements will help you feel motivated because you can see all the progress you’re making at work.
- Feeling more confident and prepared. Looking for a job can be stressful. When the time comes for you to make a career change, you want the transition to be as peaceful as possible. If you already have an updated resume, that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about when you start applying for new opportunities.
Disadvantages of not regularly updating your resume
If you aren’t regularly updating your resume, you can fall into some pitfalls. In fact, if you put off this professional task, there’s a good chance you’ll be:
- Missing professional opportunities and job openings. Sometimes, job openings are only available for a short period of time. If you need to spend a few hours updating your resume before you apply for an open role, you might miss your window of opportunity for that position.
- Inaccurately representing yourself. It’s hard to keep track of all your accomplishments and job changes. If you aren’t regularly updating your resume, you might forget to include some of your professional highlights in your CV or resume. As a result, the “you” recruiters see through your resume might be outdated or incomplete.
- Submitting a document that’s less than perfect. You’re more likely to make mistakes when you’re rushed. If you have to scramble to put together a last-minute resume, it’s more likely to be filled with factual errors, typos and spelling mistakes. This could leave a negative impression with hiring managers, which may cost you the job.
How often should you update your resume during a career gap?
When considering the frequency of updating your resume, career gaps play a pivotal role. These gaps, whether due to personal reasons, further education, or unforeseen circumstances, can sometimes be perceived negatively by potential employers. However, with regular updates, you can turn them into strengths:
- Immediate update after a gap begins: As soon as you recognize you're entering a career gap, update your resume. This allows you to document the reason for the gap while it's fresh in your mind. For instance, if you're taking a break for further studies, you can list the expected degree or certification with a projected completion date.
- Periodic updates during extended gaps: If your career gap extends for more than a year, it's wise to update your resume periodically, even if you're not actively working in your field. This is because during such gaps, you might engage in activities, volunteer work, or online courses that enhance your skills and are relevant to your profession. By updating your resume every six months or so, you ensure these additions are not overlooked.
- Before re-entering the workforce: If you're planning to return to work after a gap, give your resume a thorough update. Reflect on the skills and experiences you've gained during the hiatus. Even if they aren't directly related to your previous job, they might be transferable to your next role.