Professional Development
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You need to update your resume

Layoffs can catch you off guard, but you can still be prepared, staffing pro Mark Constan writes — and "just look at my LinkedIn" isn't good enough.

Inside NET/WORK Baltimore 2020. ( file photo)
This is a guest post by Mark Constan, founder and managing director of MTC Search Group based in Greater Philadelphia.

Why is it important to keep an up-to-date resume? So if you’re caught off guard with a layoff, you’re still prepared.

I have 23 years of experience in staffing, from working for agencies and being a consultant to becoming a talent acquisition leader in different organizations. The last four years, I’ve run my own business. One thing has remained as the standard for companies to evaluate how well a candidate can meet their needs: a listed view of experiences and accomplishments, aka a resume.

Let’s be honest — it’s tough to go back and think of things you did a few years ago if you weren’t already keeping track. I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night.

I know not everyone is looking for a job. And hopefully you do not find yourself in a situation where you suddenly need a new one. But even if you are a top performer on a team, update it. Recruiters will see your LinkedIn profile and might interest you in an opportunity. Having a resume handy will get the process going faster. Plus, if the opportunity for a promotion comes up at work, HR may ask for a resume to share with the hiring managers, and to add to your file.

Here’s a tricky caveat: If such an opportunity does come up, don’t say immediately you have an updated resume to share. That could make HR think you are looking for a job. Tell them you’ll update your resume tonight and send it first thing in the morning. But guess what? You already have it! Voila. And it looks like you are motivated by this new opportunity.

Once have updated your resume this time, I also suggest that every time any of the following happen you, update it:

  • New products or projects you worked on
  • Accomplishments and success stories as soon as they happen
  • New certifications or education
  • New title
  • When you switch jobs/companies, add that immediately with a paragraph from the job description you applied to

In this quickly changing market, timing is everything. I have conversations with people who tell me they need to update their resume — and then a week goes by, and the employer has a ton of applicants and has already conducted first round interviews.

Like it or not, a resume is still the standard used by companies to apply to a job and show what you have done. Telling people “Just look at my LinkedIn” isn’t good enough. Now, I personally don’t care that I use your profile when we talk because it gives enough substance for an initial meeting, but you’ll need a resume with most companies to continue.

A resume is something you should be proud of and happy to share with others.

As for Word doc vs. PDF and other resume formatting tips, you’ll need to talk to a resume writing expert. I’m just a recruiter.

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