When's the last time you looked at your resume?
It might be tempting to ignore your CV unless you're looking for a new job or up for a promotion, but having a strong, up-to-date resume is critical to your success, no matter where you are in your career.
"When a recruiter calls, or your dream company has an opening, that's not the time to be scrambling to edit your resume," Jeff Hyman, CEO of Recruit Rockstars, tells CNBC Make It. Hyman has reviewed thousands of resumes and interviewed more than 30,000 people throughout his 25-year career as a recruiter.
While you don't need to update your resume every day, you should make it a habit to refresh your resume on a regular basis. Hyman recommends updating your resume at the end of each fiscal quarter, or once every three months, and after each performance review you have with your manager.
Treat this resume editing session like a meeting: Block at least 30 minutes in your calendar, or add a reminder in your planner, Hyman says, so you have uninterrupted time to reflect on your recent projects and achievements, and add them to your resume.
Start by asking yourself two questions:
- What accomplishments am I most proud of this quarter?
- Has my role changed? If so, how?
The answers to these questions might look different month to month, but at a minimum, you should note metrics that highlight your stellar performance at work. You should also note any awards or special recognition you've received from higher-ups in recent months, as well as any new responsibilities you've taken on in your role.
"It could be that you were promoted four times in two years, given harder assignments, asked to mentor people, increased revenue or reduced cost — really any kind of data points that will instantly impress the reader and make them think, 'Wow, they kicked butt in this role, and can show proof of their value,'" Hyman explains.
Once your job responsibilities and accomplishments are current, cross-check your resume with the descriptions of jobs you might be interested in pursuing as your next role.
Becoming well-versed in these expectations, Hyman says, will better prepare you to negotiate for a promotion, or show an external recruiter that you're a strong hire.
It's smart to add a running list of potential references at the bottom of your resume, along with their contact information, Hyman says, so you're not "frantically searching for that information" the minute your boss, or a hiring manger, requests it.
Editing your resume might lead you to realize that you want to take on more challenging tasks or develop a new skill. You could also realize that you don't feel fulfilled in your current job.
Ask for your boss's perspective on how you can fill those resume gaps, or make changes to your work routine, to set yourself up for sustainable success. Some companies offer continuing education stipends or mentoring programs, among other resources, to aid employees' career advancement.
"Don't assume that your manager is focused on your training and development," Hyman says. "You have to own your career path."