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6 good reasons to update your resume today, no matter where you are

If you’re actively seeking a job, then of course you know that a well-honed, completely up-to-date resume is a must-have. But people with jobs need one almost as much.

If you’re employed, good. If you’re happily employed, even better. But a lot of people are clinging to jobs that don’t satisfy them, because they don’t feel like they have any other option in the current economy. Or even if they like their current placement, they don’t see that a resume is a tool that can bring you more job satisfaction, a better compensation package, and a chance to chart your future career direction.

Read on for six reasons why an updated resume can make your life better, even if you’re not jobhunting.

  1. The unexpected opportunity
  2. The missed match
  3. The new boss
  4. Negotiating for a raise
  5. Jumping into social networking
  6. Taking inventory, career planning

1. The unexpected opportunity

It happens, more often than you think. A recruiter, or an old colleague, calls you with a chance at your Dream Job, or at the very least, something exciting and attractive. Maybe a shorter commute. Maybe more flexible hours. Maybe a crack at technologies or subject areas you’d love to get your hands into. Or have you just found out that an important connection will be at a gathering you’re planning to attend? But you have to act fast. Is this the time to go home and try to figure out how to distill the last eight years’ work and achievements into five lines of text? And wonder whether your format is dated? Better to be ready.

2. The missed match

Maybe the perfect, exciting opportunity came by, but nobody thought to ring your phone because they don’t know you’ve become the right person for the job. Have you picked up any new technological skills lately? Taken any courses? Jumped up to a new job title? Taken responsibility for larger-scale projects than before? The people who could set you on the next step up will only know about it if you update, and distribute, that resume.

3. The new boss

You can take control of that critical first impression by bringing your resume to your first one-on-one chat. Use it to kick off the dialogue about where you’ve been, what you are doing, and where you’d like to go. Presenting it in resume format may serve as a reminder that you are a hot property and they don’t want to lose you.

4. Negotiating for a raise

A lot of us have a hard time raising our voices to ask for a more advantageous deal, particularly in uncertain economic times. You’ll get farther, and be more confident, if you can point out dollars-and-cents ways in which your work benefits the organization. Likewise, can you show an expanding list of more and more responsible roles, projects completed, tricky jobs carried out? Update your resume and it’ll all be in one place.

5. Jumping into social networking

Okay, you’re not quite ready to post your resume on Monster.ca or Workopolis. You’d like to be a bit more subtle than that. But you want to be out there, maybe test the waters a bit. Update your resume, distill it down, and transfer it into LinkedIn as a profile that will show up and shine when recruiters and other professionals are scanning for talent.

6. Taking inventory, career planning

When times get tough, you go into survival mode. At least you have a job, and that’s good. But you don’t want to stay in that mode for too long. The economy’s been fluctuating for centuries; it will continue to do so for centuries to come. You need to spend some time reflecting on where you’ve been, what you’ve learned – about your professional field and about yourself – and where you want to go. Maybe into a different organization, a smaller or larger one. Maybe further up the ladder. Maybe onto a completely different ladder altogether. The accomplishments that you’re proudest of, and the jobs you enjoyed the most – are they telling you something? What about your volunteer involvements, or the educational qualification you’d like to put on there, but don’t have… yet?

Take a few hours to bring your resume up to date, and see how it looks in black and white. When you add in the last two (three, five, ten) years of entries, do you feel happy and proud? Like your best talents are being utilized and developed? Like you’re in the right place? Because if this exercise shows you that you’re not… well, now you have an up-to-date resume. Time to see where it can take you.

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