It’s a good idea to maintain an up-to-date resume for all sorts of reasons. You never know what dangers or opportunities your career is about to present to you, and it’s good to be prepared. It’s also useful to keep your resume current because it serves as a kind of personal inventory. Rewriting your resume forces you to think about your knowledge and skills. You begin to wonder where you might need improvement, whether some of your skills are now obsolete, and what your key selling points are. It’s a beginning step in building your personal brand — understanding the value you bring to the workplace. If you don’t fully understand that value, nobody else will! Finally, it’s often a useful tool to have handy to describe your skills and experience to a client or colleague.

You may also want to think a little bit about the name and the format you give to the file. Almost everyone sends me Microsoft Word files called Resume.docx. If I want to put them in the same folder, I have to rename each file. Do your reader a favor and name the file JaneDoeResumeSept192014.docx. It will be easier to file and easier to find. Also, save your resume in the Adobe Acrobat format (PDF). It will print more reliably and it’s less easy for someone to tamper with it. I once had a resume from an older gentleman who’d been out of the workplace for a long time. The name of the resume was DadsResume.docx. It didn’t create a positive impression!

A recent article by someone who has seen a lot of resumes, the Senior VP for People Operations at Google (where they sometimes get as many as 50,000 resumes a week), describes common mistakes people make in their resumes. Take a look and scrutinize your own resume to make sure that you haven’t made any of his top five mistakes.

 

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