Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Why You Must Keep Your Résumé Up To Date

Everyone who reads this knows it is true; but few people will heed the advice.  Even people who are happy in their job or have been in it for a long time need to keep their résumés up-to-date.  Many people wrongly consider keeping a fresh CV as either unnecessary or disloyal.  They also believe that they can create a new one from scratch in a very short time, so keeping their résumé up to date is unnecessary and very low on their list o priorities.

Nevertheless, it is smart personal business to keep your résumé up-to-date.  

I have written many times that when someone gets promoted, gets a raise or gets a new experience, like a rotation, their recruiters should be told about it and their résumé should be updated.  That promotion or new capability may qualify and make someone a candidate for a great job that they may have wanted and not have been qualified for prior to the change.  People who can help your career need to know about it.
I cannot tell you how many times  I reconnect with a candidate and I learn about new experiences which they have recently had.  Those skills might have made them right for an assignment I have or recently had (and, had I known, I could have called them).  This is especially true of people who have a wish list.  Over the years I have had many candidates tell me what their ideal job would be, but at the time they told me, they did not have the qualifications.  Automotive, cosmetics, computers and not-for-profit are good examples.  And someone who, for example, wants to work on cars and gets rotated on to automotive after market - tires, for instance -  may suddenly be more qualified to work on a car account.

It takes a while to create a new résumé, but updating an old one is lots easier and faster.  One never knows when an opportunity will be presented which requires an immediate response and you need to be ready for that response.  It is just smart business.  

Many candidates have told me that I should look on LinkedIn to see their background.  In most cases that listing is insufficient and almost never provides the complete information which should be contained on a resume or CV.

LinkedIn is designed to contain only top-line information and rarely has enough detail to make it fully useful to companies or recruiters.  On LinkedIn, most people do not list the details of their current or past employment.  Rather, people put down the companies or categories they have worked on but fail to list the brands they have been exposed to.  It can make a big difference if one is working on Tide or on Pantene or Bounty, so saying P&G or Proctor is not enough.  Many people only list their title online which is no help to recruiters or companies who may be interested in their background.  To this day, an account director at one agency is the same as a management rep or a group head at another agency, but responsibilities, if not listed, can be unclear.  And, of course, there are almost no descriptions of accomplishments.  All of those things belong on a résumé.

In one of my first Ad Age columns, I wrote that a person who reads your résumé wants to know only four things:  Where did you work, how long were you there, what did you work on or do, and whether you got promoted.   Remember, the average person who sees your résumé will only spend six seconds on it.

One never knows when a friend, a recruiter or a person from another company will call you and ask for a résumé, “right away”.  Making them wait may impede the opportunity; it could communicate that you are not that interested.  In addition, we all know that companies are not loyal to their employees, so often, people who have unexpectedly been terminated, have to spend days or even weeks making a new résumé.  If they had an old one updated, it would speed up the process immensely, even while crafting a brand new bio.


  1. While I totally agree with Paul that everyone should always keep a current resume or CV on file for immediate reference, I totally disagree with him that “LinkedIn is designed to contain only top-line information and rarely has enough detail to make it fully useful to companies or recruiters.” Thanks to the good folks at Linkedin, I’ve had my fully detailed CV online for many years now. Indeed, with their excellent “profile” format, a Linkedin profile is a lot better than a paper or Word resume. The thing for everyone being … You have to put the thought and time in on your Linkedin profile to reflect your best. Just check out my profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/bcrandallnyc020915/ and you’ll see what I mean (even Linkedin says it’s one of the best they’ve ever seen). But if you’re just too lazy to do that on the most important B2B website in the world, then good luck. P.S. All recruiters and potential employers can access your online Linkedin profile for “free” and print it out if they like.

  2. I agree, LinkedIn has helped my Network grow., and currently I'M in the market for a new Gig....i am getting Uber top Offers!


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