Resumes aren’t necessarily the most important component of the job search process, but they are usually the first step and a great way to get the ball rolling and to showcase experience and your talents. It’s important to keep an up-to-date resume on file. You never know what will happen or when you’ll need to have it ready, even if you’re in the coziest job you’ve ever had.

When the time does come, it’s a lot easier to make a few edits to an already existing resume than to start from scratch.

No time pressure.

If you are proactive about keeping an updated resume, you’ll be able to proofread it and edit as many times as you need to without the stressor of having someone anxiously awaiting it in his inbox. You can even ask people for samples to compare or for friends, family and colleagues to look it over for you.

Without time constraints, you also have the opportunity to tailor several different resumes for different job descriptions. Again, stay prepared for various different career moves.

Plan for career patterns.

By outlining your accomplishments and experiences in a resume, you understand your career better and it might help you determine what your next step might be. Knowing your skills, you also gain a better sense of what you’re suited for and boost your self-esteem. You can look back and analyze your mistakes and determine what you need to improve or what skills you might still lack.

Performance reviews.

When it comes time for performance reviews or salary negotiations in your current job, an updated resume is a good way to document what you deserve. Again, it’s always helpful to be prepared for the next step in your career.

You forget details.

If you’re disciplined about maintaining these up-to-date records, you can ensure accuracy and prevent memory fallacies. It’s easy to forget the exact name of the award you were given 6 months ago. Or the name of the training seminar you attended a year and a half ago. Keep track of it as you go, and this won’t be a problem.

Resumes grow old.

By reviewing your resume regularly, you can make sure it reflects current keywords and doesn’t seem ancient with obsolete terms.

Keep a “working” resume on file. As you gain new skill sets, awards or accolades, or additional training, complete major projects, make detailed notes and keep these notes in a separate file. Be disciplined, and every so often, add these new certifications, relevant achievements, and job responsibilities to your resume. This will save a lot of time and keep you prepared for the next time you find yourself hunting for a job.

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